Memorial Healthcare System Welcomes Back Stroke Survivors During Stroke Awareness Month

May 09, 2024

Memorial Neuroscience Institute held its Stroke Survivors Luncheon at Memorial Regional Hospital, welcoming stroke survivors who reunited with clinicians and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) agencies who played pivotal roles in saving their lives.

Drs. Brijesh Mehta, Norman Ajiboye, and Haris Kamal, representing Memorial’s Comprehensive Stroke Program, reunited with 13 of their patients, celebrating their recovery and emphasizing the crucial role of specialized care in stroke recovery.

Drs. Haris Kamal, Brijesh Mehta, Norman Ajiboye, and Maike Blaya

As part of the event, Maike Blaya, MD, a dedicated neurologist renowned for her expertise in headaches and migraines, spoke about her experience after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke (brain bleed) that put her in a coma.

Colin Wells, a young father who had a stroke while exercising at the gym, also shared his story. Just like Dr. Blaya, he never thought it would happen to him, but his trainer saw the signs and called 9-1-1. As a result of the rapid response from Davie Fire Rescue, Wells was able to receive the treatment needed from teams at Memorial Regional.

“The vital support of Emergency Medical Service partners is crucial in ensuring every stroke patient receives expert care on the scene and a smooth transition into our care, ultimately enhancing outcomes and fostering healthier communities," said Dr. Mehta, medical director, Comprehensive Stroke Program and NeuroInterventional Surgery, regarding the role EMS partners play in patient treatment.

Xiomara Delgado, a former veterinarian, talked about being diagnosed with several aneurysms after completing a brain scan. If any of those should burst, she would have had less than a 50% chance of survival. Two recent minimally invasive procedures, using technology only available in South Florida at Memorial Healthcare System, have helped her avert potentially disastrous outcomes.

According to the American Stroke Association, the incidence of stroke is rising worldwide, with an estimated 795,000 people in the United States experiencing a new or recurrent stroke each year.

In the event of someone experiencing stroke symptoms, B.E. F.A.S.T., which stands for:

  • B - Balance. Does the person have loss of balance or are they dizzy? Are they walking differently?
  • E - Eyesight changing. Can the person see out of both eyes? Do they have sudden vision loss or blurry double vision?
  • F - Face drooping. Is one side of the person’s face drooping or numb? When he or she smiles, is the smile uneven?
  • A - Arm weakness. Does the person have weakness or numbness in one arm? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • S - Speech difficulty. Is the person’s speech suddenly slurred or hard to understand? Is he or she unable to speak? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Can he or she repeat it back?
  • T - Time to call 9-1-1. If any of these symptoms are present, dial 9-1-1 immediately. Check the time so you can report when the symptoms began.
“Acting quickly is crucial; know the B.E. F.A.S.T. signs and call 9-1-1 immediately if you suspect someone is having a stroke. With stroke, every second counts,” said Dr. Ajiboye, neurointerventional surgeon and medical director, Stroke Programs at Memorial Hospital Pembroke and Memorial Hospital Miramar.