Stroke Drug Helps Local Family

By Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the number one reason for adult disability.

Medical Center Hospital's stroke program is now nationally recognized and they hope the recognition will shed some light on stroke awareness, especially the fact that doctors have a drug they can use to help save lives.

Dizziness, loss of balance and severe headache are just some signs of stroke.

They're signs many choose to ignore, but if a doctor catches a stroke early, they may have a drug that can help.

It did the trick for Henry Smith.

"I had a strange feeling dizziness and some problems and there was another fellow with me so I sat down," Smith said. "He noticed about 10 minutes later that I was sitting down and asked me if I had a problem and if he needed to call the EMT and I said yes. At least I think I said yes."

Next thing, his wife knew she had to decide if she wanted her husband to have the drug nicknamed "The Clot Buster.'

"His youngest son lives in Lubbock and I said what do you think?'" Pat Smith said. "And he said well I'll tell you if there's any chance I'd do it."

So she did.

"A man put me in there beside him and he said watch when this stuff starts dripping and it was like instantaneous," she said.

Here's how the drug works.

Imagine that a blood clot is like a sugar cube and "The Clot Buster" is kind of like water. If you moisten the sugar cube, then you can break it up. That's king of how "The Clot Buster" breaks up a blood clot and allows circulation to resume in the brain.

Now Mr. Smith can go to work and have fun with his favorite past time, building and flying radio controlled planes.

After their experience, the Smiths want everyone to pay attention to the signs just in case a stroke hits.

"It's better to bother the doctor than suffer the consequences," Henry Smith said.

Medical Center Hospital's Stroke Coordinator told NewsWest 9, the number of stroke victims increases every year.

So people need to really pay attention to possible signs and take them seriously.