Mountain States recognizes Stroke Awareness Month

Published 7:46 pm Thursday, May 18, 2017

While her memory is still a little fuzzy, Kingsport native Kim Coates has no problem remembering neuroendovascular surgeon Dr. Brian Mason.
During March of last year, Coates received an emergency coil embolization from Mason’s staff at the Johnson City Medical Center due to a brain aneurysm.
“I woke up with a ‘thunderclap’ headache,” Coates said. “It was the most headache ever.”
Coates was able to recall her time being attended to by the staff of JCMC and thanked the efforts of Mason and Dr. Sam Massey.
“Without them, I wouldn’t be alive today,” Coates said.
JCMC is the only regional hospital that provides the specialty of neuroendovascular issues that are associated with strokes. The hospital sees patients from Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, North Carolina and in some cases Florida.
But with May recognized as American Stroke Month, Mason encourages residents to think “F.A.S.T.” when looking at the symptoms of a stroke.
“We want the public to think ‘FAST’ when it comes to strokes,” Mason said. “F is for face drooping; a is for arm weakness, s is for speech difficulty and time is for time to call 911.
Dr. Massey told the Elizabethton Star Thursday that if someone is having a stroke, the group at JCMC understand that “every minute counts” with quick access to surgical treatments meaning either full recovery or the possibility of either severe disability of death.
A stroke, which is the fifth leading cause of death in the county, occurs when blood flow to the brain is disrupted and deprives the brain of oxygen, either by a clot of a ruptured blood vessel.
According to information provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stroke is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States. Each year, approximately 795,000 Americans suffer a stroke and more than 140,000 passes away.
“Before these procedures were available, individual stroke patients would have been facing a life of rehab and nursing home care,” said Massey. “These are life-saving, life-changing experiences. Many of these patients can walk out of the hospital and go back to their regular life. It’s remarkable.”
It was a remarkable journey that Coates was able to battle through.
“Between hospitals and rehab, it was around six weeks,” Coates said about the recovery process following the procedure.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox