Stroke victim’s call leads to rescue |

Stroke victim’s call leads to rescue

James Harris has been in nursing for 21 years, but he’s never experienced a situation like the one that happened recently at The Memorial Hospital.

According to hospital records, a Craig man called into the emergency room Nov. 26, but nurses couldn’t determine what the man was saying.

But, Harris and a co-worker, nurse Rachel Nicodemus, determined that the man was suffering from a stroke and couldn’t speak.

The nurses told the man to hang up and call dispatch. Dispatchers had a tough time locating the man because he was on a cell phone, but they finally managed to get him into an ambulance and to the hospital.

“It was a scary thing,” said Pam Thompson, public relations director at TMH. “If (the nurses) would have hung up, he wouldn’t have made it. Had our staff in the ER that night not been patient with him, he might not have been found.”

The stroke victim didn’t want to be identified. However, he is recovering at his home. The man lives alone, the nurses said.

Harris said it is difficult to tell if the man would have died from his stroke injuries if he didn’t get immediate medical attention. However, Harris questioned whether the stroke victim would have received the speedy service and patience in a larger hospital. The ER nurses regularly take what they call “nurse calls” or offer advice to callers who have questions that may require immediate medical attention. They also gets some calls that are unintelligible.

Thompson said the hospital and dispatchers also get a lot of prank calls.

“I’ve been impressed with this small hospital and how it does its customer service,” Harris said.

Nicodemus said more stroke victims are using the hospital’s emergency services. That’s important because strokes can be deadly or cause serious medical problems if they go untreated, she said.

Harris and Nicodemus said they were happy they could help the man get medical help.

“How frightening it must be to have help on the phone but not be able to get through to them,” Harris said.

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