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Doctors urge you to act 'FAST' when signs of stroke appear

The quick actions of those around Sacramento resident Skip Batchelder after his stroke in 2021 significantly improved his outcome.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In June of 2021, Sacramento-resident Skip Batchelder was talking with to a friend when he had a medical emergency.

"I was taking notes and all of a sudden I couldn't control my hand and it just literally fell off the the table," Batchelder said. "He immediately got up, held me in the chair, had two cell phones out calling 911 and my wife, and we had the emergency people in my kitchen in 15 minutes. We were in the ER at Kaiser in 25 minutes."

The quick action saved his life. Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. Its the leading cause of disability and it put Batchelder in the hospital for two weeks. Doctors said his blood pressure was the cause of his bleeding stroke, where every second counted. 

"Seeking care within three hours of the onset of stroke has been shown to reduce that disability significantly, so getting to the hospital early is probably the most important thing that you can do," Dr. David Bradbury, American Stroke Association volunteer and Kaiser Permanente Roseville Medical Stroke Director, said. 

Bradbury added, when it comes to strokes, it is important to remember the acronym FAST: Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech disturbance, and Time to call 911. 

"I think the most important thing in recognition of a stroke is just getting that sense of feeling that something is wrong, that it's not right," Bradbury said.

Bradbury said Sacramento area residents are lucky to live in an area with so many stroke-certified care centers.

"No matter where you live, you're just a short distance away from live-saving help," Bradbury said.

Batchelder is doing much better now. He's cut out alcohol, changed his diet and he's more aware of how he's feeling, especially when it comes to stress. 

"I was living in denial, didn't want to admit that I had a very bad lifestyle and it got me," Batchelder said.

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