Stroke survivor thanks Northeast Baptist Hospital, helps celebrate one-year anniversary of hospital’s stroke treatment unit

Apr 4, 2022

Stroke treatment unit honors lives positively impacted, saved

(San Antonio, TX) -- Deanderia Redd Thomas, 46, a retired patient caregiver and mother of six (five daughters and one son), wants to remind the community that a stroke can happen to anyone. In Thomas’ case, COVID, coupled with a pre-existing condition, complicated matters, so she says she’s grateful she was able to receive swift, lifesaving care at the Stroke Treatment Unit at Northeast Baptist Hospital where doctors detected and removed a blood clot from her brain. Thomas helped celebrate the one-year anniversary of the opening of the unit March 29 at Northeast Baptist Hospital where she said the treatment nearby was the difference between life and death for her.

Deanderia Thomas
Deanderia Redd Thomas (left) recounts her story of stroke survival with her best friend Nicole Andrews by her side.

Thomas recounted the events leading up to the stroke she suffered in October 2021. A pre-existing neurological condition called Transverse Myelitis in her spine, muddled matters when she unknowingly contracted COVID-19. The COVID virus creates inflammation throughout the body, and can produce hypercoagulation of the blood (a condition that causes your blood to clot more easily than normal), which in Thomas’s case, doctors indicated likely caused a blood clot near her spine to dislodge and travel to her brain, causing a stroke.

Suman Nalluri, M.D., neuro-interventionalist, who treated Thomas, and his colleagues, explained how people, like Thomas, who have underlying conditions and risk factors, have greater cause for concern during COVID-19 infection. Dr. Nalluri and his colleagues discussed how the Stroke Treatment Unit at Northeast Baptist Hospital opened just one year ago in time to help patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to save lives now and for years to come.

Since opening its doors one year ago, the new Stroke Unit at Northeast Baptist Hospital has provided lifesaving stroke treatment and care to hundreds of patients. These patients come from the eastside and transfers from rural areas including Canyon Lake, benefit from swift treatment by expert neuro-interventionalists who use the latest 3-D bi-plane brain imaging technology to detect and remove blood clots in tiny blood vessels in the brain.

Dr. Nalluri, director of the Stroke Treatment Unit at Northeast Baptist Hospital, said early intervention and swift and precise treatment are directly linked to lower death rates and to reducing brain deficits such as impaired speech, paralysis, blindness and memory loss caused by stroke.

“We are proud to celebrate the lives we’ve touched by bringing this level of care to patients, many of whom suffer from other underlying conditions, including COVID-19, that put them at high risk for stroke,” Dr. Nalluri said. “We can now provide them with high-level care close to home when time is crucial to saving their brain and their lives,” he said.

Every four minutes, someone dies from a stroke and stroke continues to be the leading cause of disability in the U.S. Experts predict that in the coming years, the nation could see an increase in death and disability from stroke as a result of underlying conditions and delays in care connected to the COVID-19 virus.

Baptist Health System’s Brain and Stroke Network medical team, equipped with expertise and the very latest technology, can speed up time-critical triage and transfer decisions and, in some cases, have eliminated brain clots in under 12 minutes. The American Stroke Association recommends that patients receive clot-eliminating therapy in less than 60 minutes from the time they arrive in an Emergency Room.

Lana Bamiro, service line administrator for Baptist Health System’s neuroscience program, said the goal is to provide greater access to high-quality care to all residents in San Antonio.

“Baptist Health System is well-positioned to care for patients across the city with our stroke care programs at St. Luke’s Baptist Hospital serving the Medical Center and west side of town; our newest program at Baptist Medical Center, serving the complex stroke care needs of the downtown and southeast side communities; and our program at Northeast Baptist Hospital that serves the east side of town,” Bamiro said.

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