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Saving Time, Saving Lives

When it comes to treating a stroke, time is of the essence, so having a Primary Stroke Center like NCH in your community is important. To learn more about stroke care at NCH, click here.

Think F-A-S-T

Know what to do when stroke strikes

A stroke occurs in America every 40 seconds. Yet, if someone you love suffered a stroke, would you know what to look for? What to do?

Stroke is no time for indecision. Thinking and acting
"F-A-S-T" can save a life. Northwest Community Hospital (NCH) stands ready to help.

Know the Signs

Here's a quick guide to recognizing and acting upon the signs of stroke.
Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
Arm: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm become limp and fall downward?
Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?
Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1.

Poised and Ready

It's worth repeating: If you suspect stroke, call 9-1-1. Do not attempt to drive to the emergency room or wait it out to see if sudden visual, movement or speech problems subside.

"Paramedics have clinical screening tools and can radio ahead to the emergency room," says Laura Goldstein, MD, chief of Neurology at NCH. "We activate the stroke team immediately. They are poised and ready before the patient even arrives."

Illinois law requires paramedics to take patients to the nearest Primary Stroke Center—a distinction NCH has held since 2006. In 2011 and 2012, NCH also achieved the Get with the Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Stroke Association and American Heart Association, a designation that reflects NCH's commitment to excellence in stroke treatment and prevention.

Next Steps

The stroke specialists at NCH treat stroke with lifesaving technology and advanced neurointerventional procedures. Physicians may administer clot-busting medication called tPA intravenously, or may even navigate through an artery to locate and dissolve the clot.

After the immediate medical crisis, NCH's team approach guides patients toward the best possible outcomes—and future stroke prevention. "With stroke, every minute counts, but so do the hours and days following a stroke. What happens quietly in the room with nurses and therapists has a lot to do with how the patient does long-term," Dr. Goldstein says.

At NCH, the healthcare team works to help patients recover and learn techniques that can prevent another stroke. "As important as it is to mobilize an acute stroke care team to treat stroke, we know it's not just the bells and whistles at the beginning," Dr. Goldstein says. "We attempt to find the cause of the stroke so we can design strategies to reduce the risk of a future stroke."

Lorraine S. Novas, MD

Laura Goldstein, MD

Chief of Neurology at NCH

  • Board Certified: Neurology
  • Medical School, Internship and Residency: University of Michigan
  • Fellowship: University of Iowa

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Last Updated 04/10/2009