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Stroke Patient Stories: Sandra Arreola

"Take Me to Swedish"

By: Audra Mincey

Sandra Arreola, Stroke Survivor, SwedishIt was a relaxing evening of sewing for Sandra Arreola. At seventy-one years old, her favorite pastime was rarely interrupted. There may have been an occasional, brief conversation with her husband Phillip or a quick pause to answer the phone but this evening something interrupted Sandra that was unexpected. "As I was sewing, my arm all of a sudden wouldn't move, my leg then wouldn’t move and as I opened my mouth to call out for my husband who was in the other room, I couldn’t talk," explains Sandra.

In that moment, Sandra knew exactly what was happening to her; she was having a stroke. "I heard this groaning from Sandra's room so I decided to go check on her. I went into the room and immediately called 9-1-1," says Phillip Arreola, Sandra’s husband. "One neighbor of mine who is a nurse told me to tell the paramedics to take Sandra to Swedish. She assured me, Swedish had the best stroke care in the state," explains Phillip.

Sandra was cared for by Dr. Chris Fanale and his team. "Everyone was just wonderful at Swedish!" says Sandra. "He was very knowledgeable and his team was ready for me when I got there," she explains. "It is through the collaboration among physicians, nurses, therapists and staff at Swedish Medical Center that such great patient outcomes can happen. We strive every day to take the very best care of all of our stroke patients," says Dr. Chris Fanale, HealthONE Stroke and CO-DOC Medical Director.

Sandra's door to needle time was 34 minutes. Door to needle time is the total amount of time it takes to assess the patient, transport the patient to CT, identify stroke, and initiate aggressive clot busting treatment. She also suffered no paralysis and had no major side effects. She was back at home within the week. "It was miraculous, I'm so glad I had the paramedics take her to Swedish, they really do have the best stroke team," says Phillip.