Baptist Hospital

Remarkable Patient Story: 48 Year-Old Homicide Detective Survives Stroke

May 15, 2017

Baptist Health Neuroscience Center Recognizes May as Stroke Awareness Month

MIAMI, FL – May 15, 2017 – May is nationally recognized by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association as stroke awareness month. Stroke is a serious disease that ranks fifth in causes of death and disability when compared to heart disease, cancer, respiratory diseases and accidents.

Most strokes are preventable and if treated quickly may make the difference between life and death – or the difference between a full recovery and long-term disability such as paralysis on one side of the body, speech or vision problems or memory loss.

When a stroke happens, every second counts – as in the case of David Denmark.

David, a 48 year-old homicide detective in Miami-Dade, was at a restaurant one evening when he experienced sudden stroke symptoms. “All of a sudden I couldn’t move … I couldn’t open my eyes because of the vertigo…and then it went downhill fast, really fast,” he says.

He was transported to Baptist Hospital’s Comprehensive Stroke Center where he was met by an expert team led by Sergio Jaramillo, M.D. “When Mr. Denmark entered the Center, we obtained a CT of the brain, assessed him neurologically and came up with a score that tells us how severe the neurological deficit is,” Dr. Jaramillo said, a neurologist with Baptist Health Neuroscience Center. “If the patient presents within three hours, we can consider them a good candidate for TPA like Mr. Denmark.”

TPA is a clot buster, a medicine that breaks up the clot wherever it may be. According to Dr. Jaramillo, David responded remarkably well and within 24 hours all of his neurological symptoms had resolved and there was no evidence he would have any permanent effect on his quality of life. “Every day I wake up and I can move freely. I constantly think what it could have been like. I know how lucky I am,” David says.

Dr. Jaramillo goes on to say that “If he hadn’t come to our comprehensive stroke center, there likely would have been some kind of permanent neurological deficit and would have had a negative effect on his quality of life”. That’s why the Joint Commission, which accredits U.S. healthcare organizations, along with the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, have maintained a unique alliance since 2003 to promote stroke care in hospitals across the nation.

More than two years ago, Baptist Hospital in conjunction with Baptist Health Neuroscience Center, joined an elite group of facilities in the United States to be designated by the commission as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. The Joint Commission’s highest level of stroke care, an Advanced Certification, is awarded to those hospitals that have specific abilities to receive and treat the most complex stroke cases.

To achieve its status as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, Baptist Hospital underwent a rigorous onsite review by Joint Commission experts. The hospital was shown to have the necessary requirements, including:
• Neurologists, neurosurgeons and interventional neuro-radiologists;
• Advanced imaging capabilities;
• 24/7 availability of a neuro-intensive care unit with dedicated beds for stroke patients;
• A clinical staff with the unique education and competencies to care for patients with the most complex cases of stroke.

This month, Baptist Hospital in conjunction with Baptist Health Neuroscience Center was awarded the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s top award: Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Achievement Award with Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll Elite Plus. The award recognizes commitment to providing the most appropriate stroke treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

About Baptist Health Neuroscience Center
Baptist Health Neuroscience Center offers comprehensive and innovative techniques to diagnose and treat the brain, spine and nervous system. Designated as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association, the Center’s philosophy is to provide the most effective care in the least invasive manner. Baptist Health Neuroscience Center is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region, with seven hospitals (Baptist Hospital, Baptist Children’s Hospital, Doctors Hospital, Homestead Hospital, Mariners Hospital, South Miami Hospital and West Kendall Baptist Hospital), nearly 50 outpatient and urgent care facilities, Baptist Health Medical Group, Baptist Health Quality Network and internationally renowned centers of excellence. A not-for-profit organization supported by philanthropy and committed to our faith-based charitable mission of medical excellence, Baptist Health has approximately 16,000 employees and 2,300 affiliated physicians. Baptist Health South Florida has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. For more information, visit and connect with us on Facebook at and on Twitter and Instagram @BaptistHealthSF.

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