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Stroke victim thankful for local hospital's quick response

Earlene Smith is thankful to UAMS doctors for their quick response when she had a stroke. (KATV photo)

A stroke victim is thankful this holiday season for the doctors at UAMS.

Their quick response means instead of a life of paralysis, she was able to walk out of the hospital just days after being rushed to the ER.

Hubert and Earlene Smith have been married for 66 years. They were sitting in their apartment on Halloween night and it was just life as usual…until it wasn't.

"She came in and sat down as usual and I asked her, ‘Do you want some coffee?’ Then I asked her a second time, ‘Do you want some coffee?’ and she wouldn't talk to me," Hubert said.

Earlene was having a stroke.

Hubert knew his former nurse was in the apartment next door.

"First thing she said is, ‘She's having a stroke,’ and I said, ‘I'll go get the car and we'll take her to the ER,’ and she said no. So she called 911," Hubert said.

That call may have saved Earlene's life.

911 issued a stroke code to UAMS, so when the ambulance arrived, doctors were ready to act immediately.

"Instead of the patient having to wait, the patient will be taken to the CT scan and given TPA right away."

TPA is a clot-buster, but only helpful if a patient gets it in time.

"The stroke size was very big. Almost one-third of the left side of her brain. When the MRI was done the next day, her stroke size was only this one little small dot," the UAMS doctor told Channel 7 News.

"I cannot tell people enough about the crew here at this office...saved her life." Hubert said.

Hubert and Earlene are back in their apartment, back to their life as usual. The quick response means Earlene didn't even need rehab.

"The people on our floor in the building where we live, they just keep on saying there's our miracle," Earlene said.

"And she's been walking good and talking good and eating good and sleeping good and I don't know, we might have another 66 years," Hubert said.

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