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Mercyhealth helps stroke patients regain their independence

Brianna was just 23 years old when she had a brain aneurysm. “I had collapsed on the bathroom floor, and my dog, Cash, found me and nudged me awake,” said Brianna. “I was rushed to the nearest ER and then flown via Mercyhealth REACT to Javon Bea Hospital–Riverside where they performed emergency surgery.”

She spent 14 days in the hospital’s intensive care unit, and credits the care she received for helping her regain full independence.

“Everyone at Mercyhealth was extremely welcoming, comforting and nice,” she said. “My stay in the ICU was a lot better because of the caring and compassionate staff. The doctors and nurses listened to me and validated all of my concerns.”

Mercyhealth is the region’s leader in stroke care, with five certified stroke centers throughout northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin that provide advanced therapies to save lives and reduce the long-term effects of stroke. The stroke centers, which provide 24/7 care, are located in each of Mercyhealth’s hospitals.

“The care was extraordinary,” she said. “Mercyhealth has the best stroke team and the best care. I’m here today because of Mercyhealth.”

While a stroke most often occurs in individuals 65 and older, younger people, like Brianna, can have a stroke as well. No matter what your age, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms so you can receive care quickly.

Doctors use the acronym BE FAST to help people recognize the signs of stroke:

Other signs can include a severe headache or confusion.

Mercyhealth works closely with the community to help them recognize the signs of stroke. They want people to know that when a stroke occurs, every second counts.

The health care system’s specialized stroke centers are led by the region’s most experienced team of doctors, including Dr. Vibhav K. Bansal, Mercyhealth’s neurointervention medical director.

The experienced team uses the latest treatments, including the most advanced neuromuscular intervention—the physical removal of blood clots in the brain. They perform catheter-based procedures that can break up or remove stroke-closing clots, repair aneurysms, stent narrowed arteries in the neck and brain and treat blood vessel malformations.

Mercyhealth’s Comprehensive Stroke Center, located at Javon Bea Hospital–Riverside, has the highest level of certification for stroke treatment and rehabilitation. It can provide care to the most critical stroke patients.

Other stroke centers are located at Mercyhealth Hospital and Trauma Center–Janesville, Mercyhealth Hospital and Medical Center­–Harvard, Mercyhealth Hospital and Medical Center–Walworth and Javon Bea Hospital–Rockton. They provide expert stroke care at any given moment.

Each of the five centers are focused on treating stroke emergencies and helping people get back on their feet as soon as possible. The centers provide physical, occupational and speech therapists for inpatient and outpatient stroke rehabilitation.

“I can’t express how thankful I am for the stroke team at Mercyhealth. My doctors, nurses and rehab team were fantastic and helped me regain my independence. I can’t thank them enough!”

Learn more about the care provided at Mercyhealth’s stroke centers.