Raymond “Allen” Vaughn of Kansas City, Mo. is well-acquainted with St. Joseph Medical Center. He has worked there for 13 years, currently as the lead in the environmental services department. But last month, this 55-year-old suddenly went from an employee to a patient. While working in the Cath Lab area and talking to a staff member named Nancy, Vaughn suffered an ischemic stroke.
“All of a sudden, I started to feel a burning sensation,” Vaughn says. “Nancy asked me if something was wrong, and I started to take a step when I just collapsed on the floor. I could hear her speaking, and I tried to respond, but I couldn’t. My whole right side went numb.”
Vaughn was rushed to the emergency room at St. Joseph Medical Center where he was met by the attending physician who ordered a CT scan and the anti-clot stroke medication tPA.
“The doctor was right there attending to me,” Vaughn says. “I received the medication at 3:30 p.m., and by 10 p.m. I had full function of my whole right side. I also showed no damage on the results of my CT scan.” Vaughn says that although the ordeal was frightening, he is grateful for the quick response of the team at St. Joseph.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” he adds. “I was treated with compassion and care, and I would definitely recommend St. Joseph Medical Center to others based on my experience.”
The hospital has received several awards in the past few years across a broad range of categories, including the American Stroke Association Award and approval from the Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center. The certification recognizes that St. Joseph's Stroke Center follows national standards and guidelines in implementing a higher standard of stroke care to significantly improve outcomes for stroke patients.
“Allen is known and appreciated by many of the staff here,” says Jodi Fincher, CEO. “We’re so grateful that he was able to get the timely help he needed. This experience really emphasizes how awards are more than just emblems -- they represent real help in saving patients’ lives.”
Vaughn is back at work now and says he feels great. He continues to monitor his blood pressure and takes Plavix, an anti-platelet prescription medicine, to help prevent further strokes. He says that with his family history of heart disease on both sides, plus the defibrillator he had implanted several years ago, he is extra mindful of -- and grateful for -- his health.
His advice to others is to not ignore any unusual symptoms or discomfort.
“If you feel anything is off, get it checked out right away,” he says. “Don’t just ignore it. Especially with strokes, the response time is definitely the key to a full recovery.”