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Experts discuss importance of treating strokes quickly

Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 5:28 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - “I fell to my knee, and then got back up,” said St. Marys High School teacher Jodi Mote, recalling the stroke he had in 2014. “I got in my truck and went to New Martinsville.”

Mote did the exact thing doctors say not to do when having a stroke; he waited hours before he sought medical treatment.

“The last thing on my mind was a stroke,” said Mote.

“When it comes to stroke, time is critical,” said Dr. Tyler Hill, Medical Director of Emergency and Urgent Care Services for Memorial Health System. “Seconds, minutes, all of that. When a patient presents to the emergency department, it’s important that we move quickly and efficiently.”

Mote said he simply didn’t know what was happening and was lucky his stroke was relatively minor.

But, he is one of the lucky ones.

Across the U.S., about 72.6 people per 100,000 people over the age of 34 die from stroke, and that rate is higher in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

In Wood County, it’s about 86.4 people over the age of 34 per 100,000.

Washington County and Pleasants County also both have more than 80 deaths per 100,000.

The numbers are also high in many of the MOV’s surrounding counties as well. Meigs County, for example, has 105.8 stroke deaths per 100,000 people over the age of 34.

Average stroke deaths per 100,000 people over the age of 34.
Average stroke deaths per 100,000 people over the age of 34.(n/a)

Mote was eventually taken to the hospital after some of his peers noticed him acting strangely during football practice.

“Went back out to football and was calling kids different names… the coaches new something was wrong. My wife came and got me,” said Mote.

Mote then went to the hospital. With a sense of humor, he tells people not to do what he did if they think they’re having a stroke.

Mote also said he would have been better off to have sought treatment earlier.

But what happens to patients who are far away from any kind of treatment?

According to our partners at Kaiser Health News, approximately 25 percent of West Virginians live more than 45 minutes away from a certified stroke center.

Those minutes can make a big difference.

“It’s important to remember for every minute that the stroke goes untreated, approximately two million brain cells are dying,” Doctor Muhammad Rizwan Husain, a neurologist at WVU Medicine Camden Clark. “And for every one hour that passes by when a patient’s stroke is untreated, their brain ages almost three and a half years.”

Only about two percent of Ohioans live further than 45 minutes from a certified stroke center. But, most Ohioans also live in major metropolitan areas, like Cleveland, Columbus, or Cincinnati.

“I would say transportation and proximity to the local hospital or emergency department are some of our most challenging aspects in this community,” said Hill. " We know that a lot of our community lives a little far out from a hospital setting.”

Lucky for those living close to town in the MOV, both WVU Medicine Camden Clark and Marietta Memorial Hospital are certified primary stroke centers.

According to the American Heart Association, primary stroke centers are some of the best facilities to be treated in for stroke, but they can’t do everything a comprehensive stroke center can.

“The difference between a primary and comprehensive stroke center is, that when you have to get an endovascular procedure- that is going through the groin and pulling the blood clot out, a comprehensive

The nearest comprehensive stroke center to Parkersburg is in Charleston, West Virginia.

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