Michael Taylor always enjoyed walking in his garden and spending time outdoors. A 65-year old man, he took medications and followed a doctor-prescribed diet - but even the best practices can fail. On the morning of March 20, Michael collapsed in his garden.

During May, National Stroke Awareness Month, Lakeview Regional Medical Center, a campus of Tulane Medical Center, is sharing the story of stroke patients like Michael to remind patients that every second counts when a stroke occurs. The best chance for full recovery comes when recognizing the symptoms and calling 9-1-1, which is exactly what Michael's wife did that morning.

The Lacombe Fire District EMS quickly responded and indicated he had suffered a stroke. The Taylors asked EMS to take him to the closest emergency room, assuming that would be the best option. However, the EMS team advised that Lakeview Regional is a certified Primary Stroke Center, and they decided to transport Michael there.

As he arrived, a team of doctors and nurses were waiting for him, standing outside ready to help the second they could. "Having this team of people waiting for me impressed on me immediately that I was in the right place," Michael said. "I knew at that moment that I was going to get the best care possible."

"Code Purple," the stroke protocol procedure, was activated en route to Lakeview Regional, and the lifesaving drug tPA was administered only 38 minutes after the stroke.

"This was my first time at Lakeview Regional and I was so comforted by every single person who administered care to me, especially Dr. Laurie Lawrence and ER staff," Michael said. "Each person introduced themselves, helping to put me at ease. They explained every procedure, every needle stick, every test. The nursing staff was so caring to me and my wife, and having that level of communication made a scary situation less scary."

Michael was released from the hospital with zero deficits. "God and grace took me to Lakeview that day, I feel blessed that I received my care there," he said.

According to the American Heart Association, on average, someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds, and someone dies from a stroke approximately every four minutes. However, there are several lifestyle risk factors, including stopping smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and curbing alcohol use, that can lower your risk of stroke.