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My Stroke Story: Keely [Sydney, Australia]

27 October 2017

Sunday 29 October is World Stroke Day. Learn more at https://strokefoundation.org.au.

MY STROKE STORY by Keely. A member of the Medtronic team in Sydney, Australia.

Keely Blog

I have proudly worked for Medtronic for 11 years. I realised early that the likelihood that a family member or friend would benefit from our therapies was quite high- this was greatly increased when Medtronic and Covidien joined forces. Unfortunately, the personal experience I am sharing is about my Dad not having access to our therapies.

My father is the patriarch glue that holds our family together. He is my hero, my coach and the smartest man I know.  I am a quintessential, “Daddy’s Girl”

When I moved from California to Sydney with Medtronic in early 2016, my biggest fear was that something would happen to my parents and I would be half a world away.  This fear was realised early on Sunday, April 24th. While visiting my sister to celebrate her son’s birthday in Shawnee, Oklahoma, my Dad suffered an ischemic stroke (Large Vessel Occlusion-MCA) 

My Biggest Fear

At 4 am in Sydney, I woke up to multiple missed calls and texts informing me that my Dad had a stroke. Unfortunately, I received the news 6 hours after his stroke.  When I received the news, I broke down because I know enough about stroke to know it can be absolutely devastating. I immediately booked a flight and got in touch with the Neurovascular TM in Oklahoma City, Weneva Edge.

I have great pride in working for Medtronic and have always been impressed by the mission focused employees at Medtronic. Everything in my last 11 years at Medtronic pales in comparison to what I experienced when I engaged with Weneva.  Immediately, Weneva became our “Stroke Coach” and my Dad’s 4th daughter.  Weneva guided our family through an incredibly scary experience with her kindness, strength and clinical knowledge. She was a beacon of light in a very dark situation.

Weneva spent hours on the phone with our family to help our family navigate the complexities of this situation. She educated us on the standard of care, communicated the complexities of post-stroke care and the importance of Comprehensive Stroke Centres for optimal treatment and recovery. Without being asked, Weneva leveraged her amazing relationships with the Stroke team at Oklahoma University and helped us navigate the complexities of initiating a transfer.

After speaking with Weneva, my sister Valerie and I worked tirelessly with my mom to advocate for my dad to be transferred. My dad had the stroke in Shawnee and was given Tissue Plasminogen Activator [tPA] locally at the emergency room. Unfortunately, the hospital decided to transfer him within network bypassing THREE comprehensive stroke centers with Clot Retrieval technologies-literally driving by them. After mandating for a computed tomography angiography [CTA], they finally gave him one 13 hours after his stroke. When my mum asked for a transfer, they threatened that she was transferring my dad without medical advice and would be 100% liable for the hospital charges. After hours advocating and multiple case workers, the hospital relented. At 4 am- 22 hours after his stroke, my father was finally transferred to a comprehensive stroke center, outside the current window to benefit from Medtronic’s clot retrieval technologies.

It is heartbreaking that my Dad was unable to benefit from Medtronic’s technologies, but we are very fortunate that he is recovering quite well due to a well-established collateral network.  However, it will always be pre-stroke and post stroke for my Dad and for our family- our family is forever changed.

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A special note of thanks to Keely for sharing her story with us, and our community. Visit https://strokefoundation.org.au to learn more about stroke. Recognise the signs of stroke:

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