By Zack Bennett
Lander University recently hosted the third program in the Medically Speaking series, presented by the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation and the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce in the Abney Cultural Center Auditorium on December 6.
The program, entitled “The SRH Stroke Team: On a Brain Saving Mention,” featured speakers from the hospital: Dallas Swartzentruber, stroke program coordinator and trauma nurse coordinator; Dr. Wayne Sida, co-medical director of the stroke center; and Jennifer Clery, director of quality and patient safety.
“This region is known as the stroke belt, and we’re in the belt buckle,” said Sida.
Swartzentruber and Sida talked the audience through identifying stroke signs and symptoms, as well as the proper response if you notice symptons in someone else. They described different types of strokes and the steps needed to identify and treat them, and how Self Regional treats the patients that arrive showing stroke symptoms.
Several stroke survivors who were treated at Self Regional shared their stories. Shannon Sears, an Abbeville resident, reflected on his personal experience. “Prior to my stroke I never had any medical issues, never had to go to the doctor a whole lot,” said Sears. “It was a very different experience than anything I had ever gone through. I woke up dizzy and thought it was strange,” he said. “My left arm wouldn’t do exactly what I was telling it to do, and it was a strange sensation. I’d compare it to an out-of-body experience.”
“We went to Greenwood (Self Regional) and when I described the problems, the folks at the hospital got into action very quickly,” Sears said. “When you see a NASCAR pit stop, that’s kind of what it felt like. When I came out of the CT scan, he [Swartzentruber] explained what was going on and what they were going to do. If it wasn’t for their fast action and explaining, it could’ve been a much different experience.”
According to the experts at Self Regional, Strokes are the leading cause of serious long-term disability. 2020 saw more than 16,000 hospitalizations for stroke in the state, with 2,880 resulting in death. Self Regional alone treated more than 400 patients in the past year.
“I’m incredibly proud of the work we’re doing at Self Regional with the stroke team,” said Swartzentruber. “It’s a phenomenal team that works really hard to make sure we take excellent care of our patients.”