McLeod volunteer Chaplain saves patient from stroke
McLeod Chaplain Intern Louis Ashley recently saved a patient from a stroke thanks to his quick actions.
As a volunteer chaplain in training, Ashley is assigned to heart surgical nursing units in the McLeod Tower. He says from talking to patients and the nurses he has become quite knowledgeable about the different types of heart procedures.
Three times a week Ashley brings comfort to the patients at McLeod with his visits. In addition to his volunteer duties at McLeod Regional Medical Center, Ashley serves as the pastor for Wesley United Methodist Church in Florence.
On the days he volunteers, he begins his shift by stopping at the nurses’ desk to see if anyone is asking to talk to a chaplain. “Nurses are very in tune with their patients,” said Ashley. “If they sense that a patient has any personal or family issues that may hinder their healing process, they will suggest I visit that patient.”
Requested or not, Ashley tries to visit every patient on the floor. On this particular day, he went in to see a patient for a routine visit. The patient was on the phone with a family member, but hung up when Ashley came in the room.
“We talked about her condition, why she was in the hospital, and her relationship with the Lord,” said Ashley. “We spent a good ten minutes talking and laughing when all of a sudden things changed. Her speech altered. She started mumbling and I could see the left side of her face had dropped.”
Ashley knew immediately that something was wrong. He quickly got a nurse and explained what he had witnessed. The nurse went in to check on the patient and a Stroke Alert was called.
“I understand the signs of a stroke,” said Ashley, “From what I could see I strongly suspected that was what I was witnessing. I knew I needed to get her help right away.”
Every minute counts for stroke patients and thanks to McLeod Volunteer Chaplain Louis Ashley acting F.A.S.T. the patient received the stroke treatment they desperately need and survived. The most effective stroke treatments are only available if the stroke is recognized and diagnosed within the first three hours of the first symptoms.
If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. and do this simple test:
F- FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A- ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S- SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
T- TIME: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.