Recognizing the Signs of Stroke Saved This Woman's Life

Recognizing the Signs of Stroke Saved This Woman's Life

The night of April 28, 2022, was a rough one for many, with a tornado near Hondo and hail and flooding in San Antonio. But for one Leon Valley woman, the weather was just the beginning of one of the roughest nights of her life.

“My husband and I were out there sweeping away water with buckets, and we were trying to keep the water from coming into the house. It was about 9 or 9:15,” Karen Nolan said.

She tried telling her husband she was going into the house. “I thought I was going to tell him I was going into the house for a minute, and instead I said, “Ah!’ And that was it. I guess I knew I was having a stroke, but I came in the house, and I collapsed as I walked into the bedroom.”

Right away, her husband called their daughter who works in the University Hospital neurosurgery department. She knew it was a stroke and immediately called her doctor and got her to the hospital, where her doctor gave her a clot buster.

“She was treated with IV tenecteplase, which is a blood thinner,” said Dr. Justin Mascitelli. “It’s similar to IV tPA (tissue-type plasminogen activator) which has been used for years.”

The blood clot that caused the stroke was broken up less than an hour after the stroke began. Nolan says she’s thankful for the fast-acting staff at University Hospital and that her husband was there when it happened. 

“We were lucky we were together in the backyard. He was there, she was home, we were able to respond very quickly,” Nolan said. “Don’t wait and don’t be embarrassed to call the ambulance or 911.”

Stroke Care at University Health

University Hospital is a comprehensive stroke center. Our stroke specialists have the expertise to treat and rehabilitate the most complex stroke cases.

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