Paul’s stroke averted thanks to quick emergency care
Neptune Beach resident Paul Stiehl was running a routine errand at the Clerk of Court in Atlantic Beach when he realized something was not right. He knew he wanted to get the deed to his house, but when he attempted to ask the clerk, he could not form the words.
“I knew what I wanted to say,” Paul explained, “but the words just wouldn’t come out. I kept trying different clerks thinking that I would finally be able to explain what I needed, but all I was able to say was, ‘I need help. I’m lost.’”
The clerk assumed that Paul’s confusion meant he had Alzheimer’s, so she helped him use his cell phone to call family.
“We brought him home, where I took his blood pressure and tested his blood sugar, and both were high,” said Paul’s wife, Ruth, who happens to be a registered nurse. She summoned her neighbor Jennifer Ziegler, DO, an ER doctor with Baptist Beaches, who recommended they go to Beaches ER right away.
“When we arrived at Beaches ER, Dr. Carrigan was ready and waiting for me right there in the ambulance bay,” Paul explained. “I was still confused and couldn’t form the right words.”
Paul was exhibiting a stroke symptom called aphasia — the inability to verbally communicate thoughts you want to express. “Some stroke victims are able to quickly regain their ability to speak without intervention, but the chances of avoiding permanent brain damage are greatly improved with a drug called tPA,” said neurologist Casey Carrigan, MD.
Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA) is a clot-busting drug for ischemic strokes, which are caused by a blockage of an artery in the brain. It can be effective in preventing stroke if administered in a timely manner after the onset of stroke symptoms. “The sooner a stroke patient is treated, the better,” Dr. Carrigan explained. “We were able to give the drug to Mr. Stiehl just 24 minutes after he arrived at our emergency center.”
Ruth could not believe the difference she saw in Paul as the tPA began to take effect. “It was an amazing transformation,” Ruth said. “I actually witnessed the change. His slurred speech was gone within 20 minutes and he was able to communicate perfectly.” Paul was kept overnight where they performed neurological checks on him around the clock.
“When we arrived at Beaches ER, Dr. Carrigan was ready and waiting for me right there in the ambulance bay.”
Paul was able to return home later the next day and is back to his normal, active life with no trace of stroke symptoms.
“The care I got at Baptist Beaches was amazing,” Paul said. “Dr. Carrigan took the time to explain everything in simple terms to me and my family. And as far as nurses go, it was one great nurse after another.” Ruth was especially thankful for Jenna Grinder, RN, whose “positive, upbeat personality” kept her husband comfortable and calm.
Baptist Beaches was designated a Primary Stroke Center earlier this year. Earning this designation assures patients and the community that Beaches
has the necessary protocols in place to significantly improve patient outcomes.
“I want everyone to know that there is no reason to leave the beach for emergency stroke care,” Ruth said. “Baptist Beaches is the place to go.”