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Northeast Times | October 21, 2021

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Miracle Man: Girl Scout Cookies and Quick Thinking Helped Save His Life

Miracle Man: Girl Scout Cookies and Quick Thinking Helped Save His Life

CONTACT: Pamela Percival, Public Relations Director
Pamela.Percival@MedicalCityHealth.com
Office: 817-347-1131 Cell: 817-296-1784

Miracle Man: Girl Scout Cookies and Quick Thinking Helped Save His Life

FORT WORTH – Jerry Wren, 35, thought he was experiencing vertigo as he answered the door for a Girl Scout cookie money drop-off. Wren was right: he was suffering from vertigo, but the dizziness was just one of a number of symptoms of basilar artery thrombosis — the type of stroke that he was having.

“I remember going to answer the door and not being able to walk that well,” Wren recalled. “Like my balance was all gone. I thought it was vertigo.”

Jerry’s wife, Rhean, is the “cookie mom” for their seven-year-old daughter’s Girl Scout troop. Jerry, who works from home, answered the door for another Girl Scout mom who was dropping off money from cookie sales. That mom recognized something was wrong and phoned Rhean immediately.

“She said Jerry was unbalanced, throwing up and slurring a little bit,” said Rhean, who was at work a few blocks away. “I thought, ok, his speech is slurred … that sounds like a stroke. But he can’t be having a stroke because he’s only 35. When I heard him trying to talk, you couldn’t understand anything he was saying. So I called 911.”

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. It’s about as common as a heart attack, the No. 1 killer of men and women. And while time is a crucial factor — just as with a heart attack— stroke is largely treatable. However, most people don’t recover from a basilar artery thrombosis.

“When Mr. Wren got to the emergency room, he was unresponsive, unable to breathe on his own and wasn’t moving his arms and legs properly,” said Alexander Venizelos, MD, an endovascular surgical neuroradiologist at Medical City Forth Worth, a Comprehensive Stroke Center. “He had a blood clot in his basilar artery, which is one of the most important arteries that goes to the brain. Over 85 percent of people who have a basilar thrombosis die.”

“EMS told me they were taking Jerry to Medical City Fort Worth because it’s a stroke hospital,” Rhean said. “It’s what they do.”

A number of factors, including the accessibility of a nearby stroke center, quick thinking on the part of the Girl Scout cookie mom and Rhean’s knowledge of stroke symptoms, likely saved Jerry’s life.

“Anytime there’s damage to the brain, those cells are being lost very quickly,” Dr. Venizelos said. “The faster we’re able to recognize the symptoms and do the appropriate imaging, the better the outcome. We were able to take pictures of the blood vessels going to the brain in real time and deploy small suction devices to remove the clot.”

Think F.A.S.T. for symptoms of stroke.
Rhean encourages everyone — even younger people — to learn the signs of stroke and don’t discount them because of someone’s age.
Remember the acronym F.A.S.T., and look for these stroke signs:
FACE: facial drooping, especially on one side
ARMS: trouble raising arms, also perhaps confined to one side
SPEECH: difficulty speaking or slurring words
TIME: time equals brain, so act quickly and call 911 or head to the closest ER

Media Resources:
· Photos of Jerry & Rhean Wren with family are available for download here (daughters Raegan, age 4, and Sydney, age 7, son Jaxon, almost 2. Also, photos of Dr. Venizelos and images showing the clot in Jerry’s brain: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/e9yy0fwt52a63yh/AAA02BySy8JkNZOHfbu7yjUFa?dl=0
· Raw soundbite clips with Jerry & Rhean Wren and Alexander Venizelos, MD, may be downloaded here: https://vimeo.com/215907645. Password: Stroke.

About Medical City Fort Worth
Medical City Fort Worth (MCFW), formerly Plaza Medical Center, is a 320-bed facility offering comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services in a wide range of specialties, including cardiac care, neurosciences, oncology, surgical services, orthopedics, kidney and liver transplants and emergency care. As part of the Texas Stroke Institute stroke care network, MCFW is a certified chest pain center and a designated comprehensive stroke center. MCFW is also a designated Magnet® facility for nursing excellence.

Medical City Fort Worth is part of Medical City Healthcare, formerly HCA North Texas.
More information: Medical City Fort Worth. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Pamela Percival
Director, Public & Community Relations
Medical City Fort Worth & Medical City ER Burleson
900 Eighth Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76104
P: 817-347-1131
F: 469-713-8751
C: 817-296-1784
MedicalCityFortWorth.com