From Best Friend to Life Saver
“Without Broward Health, my family, friends, and current and former students, I wouldn’t be here.” Stroke survivor Carol Cannariato, a 59-year-old physical education teacher at Deerfield Beach Middle School will always be grateful as well to the loyal friend who reached out for help when she could not do it herself – Foxy, her five-year-old Malshipoo dog.
Carol, “Coach C” to her students, led a very active lifestyle at work and at home. Rarely ill, she was recovering from a mild case of the flu in March of 2020. Waking up during the night she had an uneasy feeling; something was not right. She tried to call out but could not speak. She tried to get out of bed but could not move. She was in desperate need of assistance with absolutely no way to get it. Then her beloved Foxy took control. Foxy alerted Carol’s roommate who quickly assessed the situation and immediately called 911.
Paramedics rushed Carol to Broward Health North’s Emergency Department where an excellent team of stroke specialists were waiting for her. She was given specialized treatment, and when the doctors deemed she was ready, moved to Broward Health North’s Rehabilitation Institute. For six weeks Carol received speech, occupational, and physical therapy. She was so motivated to get better that she asked for extra therapy. She regained her mobility and her ability to speak. She worked closely with John Bell, D.O., a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist.
“Every day, Dr. Bell would say, ‘Visualize yourself walking,’” Carol said. “With God’s help, I did it.
Back to work Carol, ever the educator, has a new teaching goal – to spread the word about the risk of strokes and the signs to watch for.
May is Stroke Awareness Month. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of adult disability. Dr.Celso Agner, who specializes in Interventional Neurology, Intracranial vasculature Disorders, Neurology, Vascular Neurology and Interventional Medicine at Broward Health advises patients to not let stroke symptoms go untreated.
A sudden slurring of speech and facial drooping are among the warning signs of the possible onset of a stroke. It’s also a sign that you must act quickly and call 911. There are other disease processes that can mimic stroke, but they are difficult to diagnose at home.” Dr. Dubrovskiy said. “Paramedics can also treat major problems, such as securing a patient’s airway.”
The stroke program at the Broward Health Rehabilitation Institute is the only stroke rehabilitation program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities and certified by the Joint Commission for Stroke Rehabilitation. These designations demonstrate a commitment to quality care and positive outcomes for someone who has had a stroke. Physicians at the 24-Hour Stroke Center at Broward Health North are always ready to intervene. They are trained to assess a situation and react rapidly to any stroke or heart attack occurrence to give their patients the best possible outcomes. The Brain Attack Team (B.A.T.) is staffed with highly skilled neurologists, neurosurgeons, radiologists and nurses whose dedicated work and enviable track record earned them the 2020 Get with The Guidelines Gold Plus Achievement Award from the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association.
Broward Health is hosting Stroke: It Can Happen to You, a free virtual lecture on Friday, May 21 at 12:30 p.m. taught by Myra Reilly, RN, CRRN Stroke Coordinator.