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Baptist stroke patient thanks 'miracle drug' for fast recovery

Sue Herron thought she was in perfect health one August morning, as she chatted on the phone with a friend.

Her husband Andrew noticed something different, however. “He noticed my face was contorted and my eyes were rolled back in my head,” she said. “He sat me down and called 911. A friend of ours had received tPA for a stroke, so he knew there was a time limit.”

Herron, 70, of Metropolis, Ill., is grateful that her husband was home and knew that changes in her speech was a sign of stroke.

Paramedics took Herron to Baptist Health Paducah, western Kentucky’s only certified stroke center, where neurologist Joseph Ashburn, M.D., administered tPA. The clot-busting drug may reduce or reverse stroke damage if administered within the first three hours of a stroke. 

“The tPA may improve the symptoms of the stroke,” Dr. Ashburn said. “I encourage people to come to the hospital as quickly as possible if they have stroke symptoms; however, there are still things we can do if they’ve passed the three-hour mark.”

Herron, who went home two days later, said tPA worked very quickly.  Her left side had been paralyzed by the stroke, but feeling and movement returned while the drug was still being administered.  “It’s definitely a miracle drug,” she said.

If you have questions about stroke symptoms, see or phone a Baptist nurse on the Chest Pain & Stroke Hotline at 1.800.575.1911.