Act FAST, Apopka: Your ER Director Explains Why Stroke Care Can’t Wait

A caregiver laughs with their loved one.
Choose the health content that's right for you, and get it delivered right in your inbox

If your partner, child, parent or friend has a stroke, will you recognize it? And, more importantly, will you know to get to your closest ER in Apopka, immediately?

We hope that you never face this situation and that your family, friends and loved ones never experience a stroke. But it’s essential to be able to recognize stroke symptoms when you see them, and to know what to do when the unexpected occurs.

With this goal in mind, your AdventHealth Apopka emergency department Medical Director Miles Bennett, DO, FACEP, explains strokes, and the acronym FAST, so you can recognize the signs and get help quickly.

What Is a Stroke?

A stroke happens when blood flow is blocked to part of your brain, Dr. Bennett explains. “This is called an ischemic stroke, and it’s the most common type.”

Another, less common, type of stroke is a hemorrhagic stroke, “which happens when a blood vessel suddenly bursts,” Dr. Bennett says. “In both an ischemic and a hemorrhagic stroke, your brain’s blood and oxygen supply is cut off, which can damage your brain cells.”

A stroke is a sudden medical emergency (meaning you need to call 911 right away) that affects someone every 40 seconds in the United States, and is one of the leading causes of disability in our country. If a stroke is left untreated, or if care is delayed, long-term physical damage can occur.

“The most important thing to remember about strokes is that they need immediate medical care,” Dr. Bennett emphasizes. “If you think you see a stroke symptom in yourself or a family member, don’t hesitate to call 911.”

In a Stroke Emergency, Act FAST to Save a Life

To identify the signs and symptoms of a stroke, Dr. Bennett says to remember the acronym FAST, which stands for:

  • Face: Does one side of the person’s face droop? Can they smile?

  • Arms: Is one or both arms weak, or drifting downward? Can the person raise both arms?

  • Speech: Is speech slurred or strange? Can the person repeat a simple phrase?

  • Time: Note the time symptoms started and call 911 immediately

“Know what FAST means. Teach your spouse; tell your kids. The more people are familiar with stroke symptoms, the better prepared your loved ones will be to act quickly in an emergency situation,” Dr. Bennett says.

Also, similar to heart attacks, stroke symptoms can vary between men and women, he explains. As you learn about the signs of a stroke, be sure to learn stroke symptoms that are more common in women.

When you notice stroke symptoms in a loved one, remember to note the time you first noticed that your loved one was experiencing symptoms. “Knowing the time of onset helps our doctors better diagnose and treat your loved one in the Apopka ER and can help save their life,” he explains.

Your Apopka ER Experts Know Lifesaving Care Is Always Worth It

Dr. Bennett and his team understand that the recent pandemic has heightened people’s fears about getting medical attention, especially ER care. And even though Dr. Bennett’s team was prepared for an intense surge of the virus in Apopka, the pandemic still took a toll on him, personally. “I’ve had to be extra careful at home and in public, as I have a daughter with significant health problems,” he says.

But Dr. Bennett also knows that stay-at-home orders don’t apply to medical emergencies, and that getting in-person care can be lifesaving.

“If my daughter were to have an emergency like a stroke, I would entrust her care to our ER, because I know it’s a safe place. I know she’d receive the same level of protection and attention my team gives patients every day,” Dr. Bennett says. “AdventHealth has gone the extra mile to ensure the safety of our team members and our guests.”

What to Expect in the Apopka ER Right Now, and How We’ll Protect You

We know you have questions and concerns about getting ER care, and we don’t want you to have to imagine what it’s like in the Apopka emergency department right now.

“Each day, our team takes extraordinary safety precautions to address your emergencies quickly while protecting you from COVID-19,” Dr. Bennett says. “In all honesty, I feel safer at work than I do at the grocery store.”

Your peace of mind matters to us just as much as protecting you from coronavirus. We want you to feel confident to get ER care for a stroke when every second counts. These precautions have become our new normal at the Apopka emergency department:

  • Caring for COVID-19 patients in an entirely separate area: Anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms is cared for in a separate wing of our building, and you don’t have to worry about sitting next to anyone with COVID-19 symptoms in our waiting room

  • Continuously supplying team members with fresh PPE: We’re stocked with supplies like masks and gloves, and our team members receive fresh equipment each day, as many times per day as needed

  • Staff and patients are screened at every entrance: Everyone has their temperature checked, answers screening questions and is given a mask before they can enter

  • Social distancing measures in waiting areas: We haven’t had any issues with crowding in the Apopka ER, and you’ll notice chair covers and floor markers for where to sit and stand a safe distance apart from others, along with clear protective shields at the reception desk

  • Cleaning and disinfecting all areas continuously: We clean and sanitize waiting areas, exam rooms and all high-touch surfaces around the clock, for everyone’s safety

To ease your mind further, we encourage you to read what to expect at the AdventHealth Apopka emergency department right now as told by Dr. Bennett. He answers your questions about masks and gloves and other PPE, COVID-19 cases at our facility and more.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Get ER Care for a Stroke

Strokes are often life-threatening, but it’s possible to survive them, especially when you get help quickly. With the pandemic not far behind us, it’s understandable for you to feel hesitant to get ER care, but Dr. Bennett wants to assure you that getting lifesaving care is always worth any risks.

“You can’t take care of a stroke yourself at home,” Dr. Bennett says. “We know a lot of people are nervous to come to the ER right now, but it’s far more dangerous not to get medical attention for a stroke.”

“It’s difficult for us to know that there are people who aren’t coming in for help, especially for something as serious as a stroke,” Dr. Bennett says. In some cases, people aren’t getting help until it’s too late to treat them effectively. “At that point,” he emphasizes, “treatment can become more complicated, and reversing the damage done may be less likely.”

At the first sign of a stroke, it’s imperative to call 911 right away. Getting a loved one lifesaving medical care for a stroke increases their chances of survival and reduces long-term harm from the stroke, such as difficulty walking, speaking or eating. 

“The sooner stroke patients come into the ER, the better we can treat them,” Dr. Bennett emphasizes.

Treating Strokes With Expert Care in Apopka

“When a stroke patient comes in quickly after their symptoms start, my team can help restore blood flow to their brain and prevent further damage,” Dr. Bennett says. But ER care is just the first step in healing from a stroke. Getting immediate care is the beginning of a journey to help your loved one — or you — heal, recover and get back to the activities you love after a stroke. 

“My team in the Apopka ER provides immediate treatment for strokes, but your care doesn’t stop there. Our neurologists help with long-term healing,” he explains. The AdventHealth network of neurology and neurosurgical experts can help you or a loved one heal from a stroke effectively. Our experts offer evidence-based, whole-person care that meets your needs and boosts your physical, mental and spiritual health.

For a Stroke, Don’t Hesitate to Get ER Care in Apopka

Dr. Bennett’s team of experts are ready to address strokes quickly with your protection in mind at every step. “Your family can expect to receive safe, compassionate and competent care from our providers and nurses, and a hospital system that loves and cares about you.”

When you see stroke symptoms, remember the acronym FAST, and call 911 immediately to get your loved one to ER care at AdventHealth Apopka.

Recent Blogs

Man talking with a nurse, during an appointment, inside of an examination room.
The Importance of Participation and Diverse Representation in Research
A Mother Helps Her Daughter with Her Hair in The Bathroom.
Nurturing the Whole Health of Mothers Every Day
8 Ways To Spring Into Good Health With Primary Care
A young man stretching outdoors.
What a DEXA Scan Tells You About Bone Health
Running in the Heat
View More Articles