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Sevierville Man Praises Hospital’s Stroke Team

Posted on November 21, 2018

Gary Blunt wasn’t aware that Leconte Medical Center is an award-winning stroke center, but when he was wheeled into the hospital’s emergency department last September, he knew he was in good hands. 

Sevierville Stroke Survivor

“When I got there, they swarmed me – five, six, eight people. They were all over me!” said the 77-year-old Sevierville resident, who emerged from the embolic stroke without any visible impairments. “I couldn’t have asked for better treatment. They were so helpful!” 

Callie West, the stroke coordinator at LeConte Medical Center, attributes Blunt’s quick recovery (only one night in the hospital) to a team effort between the hospital’s stroke team, emergency physicians (Dr. Jerry Bradley, and Dr. Shamir Haji), and a neurohospitalist at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. Both LeConte and Fort Sanders are members of Covenant Health, which hosts the region’s only stroke network. 

“We did what we call a ‘plain brain’ CT scan to make sure there was no bleeding,” says West. “His CT was clear, so we were able to give him the clot-busting drug tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) within 42 minutes of symptom onset.” 

Blunt went home without any deficits! This after initially being so impaired that he couldn’t speak or move his right arm. “Medicine has advanced so much,” explains West, “that the goal in stroke care now is to get patients as close to where they were before the stroke occurred.” 

LeConte Medical Center has received the 2018 Get with the Guidelines-Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association.

It is also recognized by the Joint Commission as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center with around-the-clock access to neurologists. 

Now that he has returned home, Blunt is excited to share his story with others in Sevier County. “When you are in that kind of situation, it’s scary. Everybody in that hospital treated me like I was the king. The nurses, the doctors – everybody-couldn’t have treated me better. They were right on top of everything.”

When it comes to a stroke, time is of the essence. Know the symptoms of a stroke, and call 911 immediately if you notice the signs.