Mary Fulse with EMT Brittany Mobley

During a recent stay with family in Covington, Mr. Folse found his wife on the ground unresponsive. Paramedics from Fire Department 12 who responded were expecting a head injury, but upon assessment of Mrs. Folse’s condition they realized it was more likely a stroke. Paramedics immediately took Mrs. Folse to Lakeview Regional Medical Center.

During transport, Lakeview Regional activated Code Purple, an internal alert for a potential stroke patient which mobilizes appropriate staff and ensures the CT scanner is ready. Mrs. Folse had a significant stroke involving a blood clot, which required administration of tPA to help dissolve the clot and restore blood flow to the area of her brain that was affected. As any medical decision can be frightening, Mr. Folse relied on the expertise of ER physician Dr. Jay DeSalvo and the neurologist on call, Dr. Ramy El Khoury. He said, "Do for my wife whatever you would do for yours."

Although tPA administration is given at Lakeview, the nature of Mrs. Folse's stroke necessitated that she be transported to a higher level of stroke care in order for her to have the best chance of a positive outcome. She was transported by Acadian Ambulance to Tulane Medical Center, a comprehensive stroke center with interventional capabilities, not currently available on the Northshore. Following her procedure and inpatient rehabilitation therapy, Mrs. Folse returned to Covington to live with her daughter and continue outpatient rehabilitation therapy and occupational therapy at Lakeview Regional. She is doing extremely well considering the severity of her stroke.

On May 21, Lakeview Regional hosted their first-ever EMS Great Save Event, highlighting Mrs. Folse's story and re-uniting her with the paramedics and ER staff who cared for her that night. The event was held during EMS Appreciation week as a way of highlighting the importance of the relationship between first responders and hospitals in emergency care. Medics from both Fire Department 12 and Acadian Ambulance were present to receive recognition for their roles, and Mrs. Folse was presented with a new birth certificate commemorating her "rebirth" at Lakeview Regional on the night of her stroke.

Mrs. Folse's husband spoke on her behalf at the event. He relayed the story of that night, his voice full of emotion as he recounted the event. He spoke to the caregivers and thanked them for helping his family in their time of need. Administration of the hospital also thanked the EMS crews for their ability to assess that Mrs. Folse was having a stroke and not a head injury, and for making the decision to bring her to Lakeview's ER, a certified primary stroke center.