Walton County resident benefits from timely stroke care

Special to Gannett
Mike Maddux's  wife, son and son-in-law recognized the symptoms of a stroke and got help quickly for Mike.

When Mike Maddux’s wife walked into the kitchen, she sensed something was not right. Her husband was leaning against the counter staring into space.

She asked her son to go get their son-in-law for help. Once they sat Mike down, they noticed his left arm was not functioning, his face was drooping and his speech was slurred. They had the presence of mind to recognize he was exhibiting signs of a stroke and called for an ambulance. 

Mike was rushed from his Freeport home 45-minutes away to Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast Heart Emergency Room. There doctors used RAPID, a new advanced imaging software that analyzes CT brain scans and generates color-coded map views of the brain within 30 seconds. The images allowed doctors to visualize the exact location of his clot and alert the stroke team at Ascension Sacred Heart Pensacola that Mike would benefit from surgical intervention. 

As the only nationally-certified Comprehensive Stroke Center in Northwest Florida, Ascension Sacred Heart Pensacola streamlines specialized stroke care by providing high-level stroke treatments and interventions to other Ascension Sacred Heart sites of care. A Comprehensive Stroke Center is the highest level of certification for hospitals with specific abilities to receive and treat the most complex stroke cases.

After administering a clot-busting drug to improve blood flow, he was transferred by medical helicopter to Ascension Sacred Heart Pensacola to undergo a thrombectomy, a procedure that routes a tiny mesh tube through a catheter in the groin to extract the blood clot blocking the blood vessel in the brain. 

Dr. Terry Neill, medical director of neurocritical care at Ascension Sacred Heart Comprehensive Stroke Center, said Maddux’s case illustrates the impact timely, coordinated neurological care can have on outcomes. 

“This is an exciting time in stroke care,” he said. “Vital technology like RAPID and surgical interventions are transforming the way we care and treat stroke patients, and thereby save lives.” 

Mike, who has fully recovered, has taken steps to improve his health by following a Mediterranean diet and losing 35 pounds. He said he was fortunate everyone made the right decisions at the right time. 

“Starting with my wife, son and son-in-law who recognized the symptoms of a stroke and did not hesitate to call for help, to all the doctors who acted quickly to intervene, everyone played a role in my survival and amazing recovery,” he said. “I’m a living, walking testament of what is possible through quick-thinking and world class care.”

For more information on stroke care, visit https://healthcare.ascension.org/Specialty-Care/Neurology/Stroke-Treatment.