Gladys Dobbs

Timing is Everything
Gladys Dobbs and a nurse

Gladys Dobbs is in “fabulous shape,” according to her doting daughters, Jennie Stanfield and Pennie Tanner. Gladys’ good health is remarkable, considering that she suffered a stroke at age 89. Thanks to fast action by her family and Southeast Georgia Health System’s new telestroke program, Gladys not only survived her stroke, she’s thriving. “She’s back to being mama, going out to lunch and shopping. As far as her mind goes, she keeps me and Pennie in check!” says Jennie, laughing.

A partnership with Baptist Health Jacksonville and physicians in Florida and Southeast Georgia, the telestroke program is designed to deliver 24/7 lifesaving care by ensuring that patients can be seen via videoconferencing technology within minutes after arriving at the Health System.

The telestroke program was launched just three weeks before the day Gladys exhibited stroke signs and was brought to the Health System’s Emergency Care Center on the Brunswick Campus by ambulance. Her daughters followed by car. “By the time we arrived, the emergency care team had already evaluated her and were setting up the video teleconference call,” Pennie recalls.

Via videoconference, which is similar to Skype, board-certified physician Steven B. Dawson with Baptist Neurology Group in Valdosta, Ga., confirmed Gladys’ stroke and determined she was a candidate for tPA, a clot-busting stroke drug. “Her speech and facial elasticity improved almost immediately after receiving tPA,” Jennie says. After a few days in the hospital, Gladys returned home, fully recovered.

When it comes to stroke, time lost is brain lost. By giving patients 24/7 access to a neurologist, the telestroke program eliminates assessment and treatment delays. Delayed treatment can cause memory and muscle control disabilities. Gladys’ excellent outcome is due to her daughters recognizing the stroke signs quickly and calling 9-1-1. As a result, Gladys arrived at the Emergency Care Center within an hour and received tPA within the recommended three hours of stroke onset.

Although Gladys’ daughters were concerned during their mother’s health crisis, they knew she was in good hands. “The emergency care team was absolutely wonderful. They kept us informed which put us at ease and they gave mama every comfort she needed,” Jennie says. “Any time mama has been to the Health System, they’ve treated her real well. We’ve come to expect first-class care when we go there,” Jennie says.