At age 100, She Survives Stroke Thanks to Quick-Response Team at Baptist Hospital, Miami Neuroscience Institute

Marian Davant is a stroke survivor — a claim that is especially striking when you consider she received life-saving treatment recently at the age of 100 by a team from Baptist Health recognized for its rapid deployment for patients arriving with stroke symptoms.

Ms. Davant resides at the Palace in Coral Gables, an assisted-living facility. One day, her caregiver noticed her stroke-like symptoms, so she called 911 and notified Ms. Davant’s son, Stuart Davant, right away.

“She couldn’t move her arm,” recalls Mr. Davant upon seeing his mother. “She couldn’t move her left leg. She was a little bit droopy. She could hardly talk. We knew what was going on and rescue got there. Within less than a minute, they (said) — Yes. She’s got the symptoms.”

(Watch video: Hear from stroke patient Marian Davant, her son Stuart, and Miguel Melo-Bicchi, M.D., neurologist at Miami Neuroscience Institute.)

When the City of Coral Gables rescue team arrived at Baptist Hospital with Ms. Davant, her son was struck by the size and readiness of the medical team awaiting her arrival. He didn’t know it at the time, but what he was observing in action was the B.E.S.T stroke first-response team. B.E.S.T. simply stands for Baptist Emergency Stroke Team, a group of nurses, doctors and other professionals trained to respond as quickly as possible. That’s because stroke patients must be treated within a very tight timeframe from the onset of stroke symptoms to avoid debilitating side effects or even death.

Because of an innovative, telemedicine partnership between Coral Gables Rescue and Baptist Health, the B.E.S.T. team was able assess the patient’s data and acquire consent for treatment prior to her arrival at Baptist Hospital. The Coral Gables Fire Department was the first fire/rescue agency in Miami-Dade County to have a direct audio-video connection between transport vehicles and medical specialists awaiting patients’ arrival at Baptist Health’s hospital emergency rooms.

Recalls the patient’s son, Mr. Davant: “By the time we got to the hospital, they backed up and there’s that certain room at the ER … And there must’ve been 10 people from Baptist Hospital. There were nurses and technicians and the doctor, and he said, ‘Don’t even stop.’ They went straight to the CAT scan room.”

Ms. Davant was fortunate that she was diagnosed so quickly. There was no bleeding and she was able to receive the clot-busting drug approved for treating ischemic strokes, which occur when a vessel supplying blood to the brain is obstructed. It accounts for more than 80 percent of all strokes.

Miguel Melo-Bicchi, M.D., neurologist at Miami Neuroscience Institute, part of Baptist Health, recounts Ms. Davant’s rapid diagnosis and her quick response to the clot-busting drug, alteplase, also known as tPA, which prevented the need for a thrombectomy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure to remove blood clots in stroke patients.

“She was evaluated on time,” said Dr. Melo-Bicchi. “She had everything on time. She got her CAT scan. There was no hemorrhage. And we pushed the alteplase. And what it basically does is dissolve the clot that is causing the stroke. We gave it to her and she improved dramatically. We even were going to send her to get thrombectomy aspiration of the clot. But … she completely resolved; I was in shock. I was super happy.”

The American Stroke Association lists stroke as the No. 5 cause of death in the United States. To increase survival and limit long-term effects of a stroke, a patient has up to 4.5 hours from the onset of symptoms to receive intravenous alteplase, or tPA, to dissolve blood clots. Doctors administer alteplase through an IV in the arm, dissolving the clot and improving blood flow to the part of the brain being deprived.

Ms. Davant is excited to celebrate her 101st birthday with a party, which she couldn’t do last year because of the COVID-19.

“Mom, remember when you turned 100, we couldn’t have a big party,” Mr. Davant tells his mom. “So, we had the cars drive by. But for 101 in October, what do you want to do? What if we had a big party and everybody came? Have all the family come and all your friends.”

“I would like that,” responds Ms. Davant. “That’d be fun.”

The Stroke Team

Ms. Davan’ts direct stroke team included: Miguel Melo-Bicchi, M.D., neurologist with Miami Neuroscience Institute; Jessica Charles, R.N., B.E.S.T. responder; Rita Chamoun, Pharm.D., clinical staff pharmacist; Nina Cruz, R.N., stroke program coordinator; and Jessilyn Pozo, R.N., system-wide program manager.

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With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.

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