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40-year old stroke victim shares his story as the Hon. Mayor Allen Thomas declares May as Stroke Awareness Month

May 15, 2012 posted by Carissa D. Etters

GREENVILLE – Forty-year old Germaine Graham of Kinston was with his brother-in-law last month when he experienced a massive headache. Graham says his brother-in-law noticed his mouth turning and his right eye weakening and rushed him to a local hospital. The following four hours were crucial to Graham’s chance of survival.
Vidant Medical Transport (formerly EastCare) was called to transfer Graham to Vidant Medical Center by helicopter. The emergency department received a stroke alert from rescuers transporting Graham and a stroke response team was standing by.
Dawn Becker, a Vidant Medical Center stroke coordinator, was on Graham’s stroke response team. She describes Graham as tearful and very frightened when he arrived. After completing a full assessment of Graham’s condition upon arrival at Vidant Medical Center, he received a drug therapy within one hour. Within 48 hours of the stroke, Graham had complete resolution of symptoms. He went home in three days.
“The patient (Graham) had the most optimal outcome a stroke victim could have, because he got to a hospital immediately so treatment could be offered,” said Becker. “The biggest factor to ensuring the best possible outcome in stroke is time.”
Eastern North Carolina is considered the buckle of the stroke belt, which is just one reason why Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas felt the importance of signing the proclamation. Thomas says this proclamation is personal to him, because he lost a grandfather to stroke.
“I never got to know him, but am told my personality is a lot like his,” Thomas said. “We lost him too soon because of a stroke that possibly could have been treated if he knew the signs and symptoms.”
Stroke is the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States. Time is of the essence for survival or minimal damage. Knowing and recognizing the signs and symptoms of stroke can be the difference between life and death.
Use the F.A.S.T. test to remember warning signs of stroke:

F = FACE Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A = ARMS Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S = SPEECH Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?
T = TIME If you observe any of these signs (independently or together), call 9-1-1 immediately.
Vidant Medical Center is the only Certified Primary Stroke Center east of I-95. Each year 800 stroke patients receive care at Vidant Medical Center. For more information about stroke and the stroke center visit
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