According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
every year about 795,000 people suffer a stroke. The alarming number
includes one in every six deaths from cardiovascular disease attributed
to a stroke.
It’s something 79-yearold Hermantown resident Tom Porter is thankful to have survived. He had a stroke in December 2022.
Porter was experiencing some mobility issues with his foot, but
wasn’t having any other stroke symptoms. However, when his foot
continued to bother him the next day, his wife, Eleanor, drove him to
the emergency department at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center.
Porter explained to his care team what he had been experiencing.
That conversation, along with a CT scan, indicated that he had a stroke.
Porter would spend four days in the hospital for monitoring.
“Everyone that cared for me over those four days was so kind and
careful with my care,” Porter said thankfully of his stay at St. Mary’s.
“They are very good at what they do, and I had complete trust in them.”
The stroke caused Porter to lose some mobility in the right side
of his body, mainly his leg. He needed a wheelchair and was referred to
Essentia’s stroke rehabilitation program.
Stroke rehab is offered at several Essentia facilities. Patients
can reclaim their independence by regaining skills, strength and
abilities through proven methods provided by physical and occupational
therapists, and others on the care team.
“They know exactly what they are doing. I’d even try and cheat on
it sometimes,” he joked, “but they are on top of it and made sure I was
doing exactly what I needed to regain my mobility.”
For the next several weeks, Porter routinely went to his rehab
appointments and was able to ditch the wheelchair, and then a walker.
“I’m proud to call Essentia my hometown hospital,” Porter said.
Essentia’s award-winning stroke care program comes with a variety
of treatment options for patients, starting with their high-tech NASCAR
room— which stands for Neuro Angio-Suite for Cerebral Arterial
Reperfusion. There, specialists can perform an emergent stroke
thrombectomy, a procedure in which a catheter is inserted in a groin or
arm artery and navigated with expert precision to the brain to remove
potentially deadly blood clots.
Our stroke thrombectomy treatment can be provided up to 24 hours
from symptom onset, and in some cases longer. Done in a timely manner,
stroke thrombectomy can prevent profound neurological deficits, such as
paralysis, loss of language function, inability to speak or swallow and
Dr. Vikram Jadhav (Dr. Vic), an interventional neurologist at
Essentia, says taking care of your body is one of the surest ways to
prevent a stroke. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and
diabetes are the leading causes of stroke, with one in three U.S. adults
having at least one of these conditions or habits, according to the
CDC. Dr. Vic says it’s important to monitor your health and minimize
risk factors by eating healthy and staying physically active.
One of the surest ways to prevent long-term side effects
associated with a stroke is to act fast when signs and symptoms occur.
Symptoms include sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg,
confusion or trouble speaking, loss of or blurry vision, dizziness and a
sudden severe headache. The acronym BEFAST is a useful tool. It stands
• Balance: Does the person have sudden loss of
• Eyes: Has the person
lost vision in one or both
• Face: Smile. Does one
side of the face droop?
• Arms: Raise both arms.
Does one arm drift downward? • Speech: Repeat a simple
phrase. Is speech slurred
• Time: If you observe any
of these signs, it’s time to
call 911 right away.
Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center’s Advanced Thrombectomy
Capable Stroke Center is a nationally accredited care unit. Certified
by the Joint Commission, St. Mary’s is the only facility in the
Northland certified to remove clots from blood vessels in the brain to
re-establish blood flow. This certification requires that Essentia offer
24-7 stroke care with the most stringent standards.
Essentia Health’s mission is to
make a healthy difference in people’s lives. They relentlessly pursue
that mission at their 14 hospitals, 78 clinics, six long-term care
facilities, three assisted living facilities, three independent living
facilities, seven ambulance services and one research institute.
Essentia has about 15,000 employees, including 2,200 physicians and
advanced practitioners who provide expert, compassionate care.