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DULUTH - A local hospital is now a designated primary stroke center.
It was a Sunday, just like any other, when Megan Olson, began experiencing severe pain.
“I was lying in bed and I had sat up really quickly and I got this super sharp pain in the back of my neck and I laid back down and my whole right side went numb,” Megan Olson said. “I could still breathe, I could still kind of talk, but all these things were racing through my head. What’s going on, what’s going on.”
Although Olson was only 28-years-old, she was having a stroke and her boyfriend rushed her to the emergency room at the Essentia Health – St. Mary’s Medical Center.
Essentia was designated as a primary stroke center this fall.
“We know for sure every minute counts,” Gail Wallace, a Neurology Nurse Practitioner, said. “And with stroke, there’s usually a blockage and there’s no circulation to the brain and the faster you can open that up, the more recovery. So, the stroke team arrives at the emergency room and we already have a stand-in order ready to roll. So we don’t have to stop and think."
The certification was given by The Joint Commission, which is an organization that accredits over 19,000 health care programs nationwide.
“That just means you’ve got the stamp of approval,” Wallace said. “That you are doing excellent stroke care in a timely fashion and trying to apply any new research as you go. “Prove you’re doing state-of-the-art, you’re up-to-date, you have standing orders, can give this T.P.A. clot buster, et cetera.”
Olson said the doctors and staff were all very cooperative and encouraging throughout her recovery.
She spent one month in the hospital and recently finished her out-patient treatments and is now back at work and enjoying spending time with her daughter.
“It was wonderful,” Olson said. “I don’t think I’d be as recovered as I have if it weren’t for the people.”