The last few weeks of February were uneventful for 75-year-old Carol Davenport.
“I worked at Subway and got my hair fixed,” she recalls. And, she went to her Friday Bowling League just as she had for years.
And then, just as she did every Thursday evening, on Feb. 25, she sat down with her husband, Gary, to watch “American Idol.”
“She had the TV remote, but when I asked her a question, she didn’t say anything,” Gary says. “When I looked at her, I could tell immediately she was having a stroke.”
His quick response in calling 911 helped in preventing permanent damage, her medical team says.
But when it comes to Carol’s recovery, the Via Christi hospitalist program played a significant role, the couple agrees.
“You have to treat strokes in a timely manner,” says Cheryl Craig, director of the Critical Care and Medical Intensive Care units at Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg.
In fact, any delay can make a life-altering difference in patient treatment options, recovery, survival and future quality of life.
Carol, who lives in Farlington, Kansas, initially was seen at nearby Girard Medical Center, where staff contacted University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City.
“But KU told us they could do the same thing here at Via Christi,” Gary recalls.
Tracking Carol throughout her stay were members of the hospitalist team.
A comprehensive care team
The hospitalist program includes a team of four physicians, three social workers, a palliative or comfort care nurse, a nurse coordinator, a case manager, and a clinical pharmacologist.
It provides a continuum of care for a patient who doesn’t have a primary care physician in practice at Via Christi, says Mindi Garner, DO, an internal medicine specialist instrumental in starting the program last January.
“We’re with them from the time of admission through a return home,” says Dr. Garner, “through every level of care.”
At Via Christi, Carol — who has no memory of the episode — first was seen in the emergency room. Scans revealed multiple blood clots on the left side of her brain and determined a course of treatment.
Tests also determined the severity of the stroke and what deficits Carol had.
Carol then was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit, and a few days later moved downstairs for physical and speech therapy.
The hospitalist team tracked her the entire way, department by department.
“They did everything they could for her throughout her stay and it was exceptional care,” Gary says. “The ER was great, speech therapists were fantastic, and Dr. Garner as the lead doctor was great, too.”
Today, Carol is back at work and her bowling league. The couple celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary on May 28 with friends and family, including two children, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
“She was such a win,” says Craig, the ICU director. “She still worked, was very active, even at her age, and there would be no reason she couldn’t go back to her normal life.”