Sunday, March 6, 2011

Life Is Not All Art and Fun

My friends, Doug and Tuesday Binkley have one super amazing daughter. Sami is a 16 year old girl who is a high school junior, plays on her high school basketball team and was the junior homecoming attendant this fall. One week after being crowned Sami suffered a stroke. Yes, a stroke. I suppose like me, not many people think of adolescents or children having strokes. Research says unborn infants can have a stroke. In children 1 to 18 years old, strokes occur in 11 out of 100,000 children. Strokes in children are fatal 20-40 percent of the time. Thankfully Sami didn’t die; however, she was left with an inability to use her left arm and leg and has some loss of vision in her left eye.

Sami spent two weeks in intensive care and several weeks in the hospital before going home the day before Thanksgiving. She continues to have physical and occupational therapies to help her to regain use of her extremities and help her to walk. She can walk with assistance but she is working hard to be able to recover enough to play basketball again next year. A tutor visits Sami every day for several hours, and she plans to return to school soon. She hopes to attend Millikin University in Decatur, IL and become a sports journalist. Sami is a strong, determine young woman with a drive that is admired by all who know her or have heard her story.

I am amazed by Sami and her determination to rebuild her life. It’s for her I feel this blog is a good place to spread the word about pediatric strokes. If you have young children or grandchildren or have friends who have children, please don’t stop reading. Learn the information below about the signs of strokes and what you can do to help save a young life. What you learn here may make all the difference to someone you care about.

What is a stroke?
A stroke, also known as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), occurs when the blood supply to any part of the brain is interrupted, results in tissue death and loss of brain function.  If blood flow is interrupted for longer than a few seconds, brain cells can die, causing permanent damage.  

What causes a stroke in an infant or child?
A stroke may be caused by a blood clot that forms in the brain or a blood clot, piece of plaque, or other material that travels to the brain from another location. The resulting stroke-related symptoms depend on the area of the brain affected, the extent of the damage, and the cause of the stroke. Bleeding within the brain can, on rare occasions, cause symptoms that mimic stroke. 

Anyone can have a stroke at any age. Symptoms can be the same in children and adults

What to look for -
A severe headache -- often the first complaint, speech difficulties, eye movement problems, numbness are symptoms/complaints to be aware of. Then you should act F.A.S.T. If you notice any of these signs you could contact your doctor or emergency room as fast as possible.

F – FACE - Ask the child/adult to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

A – ARMS - Ask the child/adult to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward

S - SPEECH Ask the child/adult to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred?  Can the patient repeat the sentence correctly?

T - TIME If the child shows any of these symptoms, time is important. Call 911 or get to the hospital fast. 

I hope you never need this information. If you do, I hope that you remember to act F.A.S.T.
It could make all the difference. 

For more information on Pediatric Stroke: 

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