North Fulton Regional Hospital Recognizes National Stroke Month With a Personal Touch

Roswell, GA (May 4, 2007) | Return to Victims' Stories

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"Nick's experience was very pleasant, and we will be forever grateful for the swift and precise work of our Neuro Trauma ICU team," - Katja Bryant, CNRN.

Katja Bryant is the director of Neuroscience Services at North Fulton Regional Hospital, a facility certified as a Primary Stroke Center. Of great concern to her is the treatment and prevention of strokes. While this has long been a "calling" of Bryant's, the call became louder when a loved one made the issue very real and personal. In recognition of National Stroke Month this May, Bryant tells her story, with the hope that others will become educated enough to recognize and potentially prevent strokes:

"NIH teaches: score Ataxia only when you see it…" Believe them when they say, it is different when it is one of your own.

For over two years I have performed NIH stroke scales, given tPA and educated patients and families on signs and symptoms of strokes. In addition, we have registered over 350 patients in the Coverdell Stroke Registry. Not once did it cross my mind that it would become personal history, especially since my parents live in Germany, and my husband, Nick, is only 30-years-old.

On October 31, 2006, that changed in minutes when I received a phone call from one of our friends who works with Nick, saying that they had just called 911 after Nick had passed out in his office.

Nick remembers hearing my voice over the speakerphone instructing his co-workers to check his breathing and his pulse and to absolutely not forget to send him to my hospital.

The minutes in the Emergency Room waiting for his ambulance to arrive felt like hours, and once he did arrive I was able to breathe easier.

Earlier that day Nick had gone to a Chiropractor, seeking treatment for neck pain that he had been experiencing for over two weeks. He had called me after the treatment complaining about increased neck pain and nausea.

On initial hospital assessment, Nick complained about a horrendous headache and the inability to swallow with a voice that was more like a whisper. He underwent diagnostics and my rigorous NIHSS examinations over and over, still displaying some signs and symptoms of neurological deficit.

The headache and nausea were treated and Nick improved over the next hours; during this time, his voice came back, and he passed a bedside swallow test.

I had spoken previously to one of our Neurosurgeons regarding Nick's neck pain and she discussed his results with us. We then scheduled an MRI of his neck for the next day. Up until this point, Nick had not gotten up or walked in the hospital, and he did not until we got home that night. On his way to the kitchen he "missed" and ran into the kitchen counter. The following morning he "missed" reaching for the shampoo bottle in the shower and used a wide-based gate to keep his balance. For stroke experts, these were clear signs that Nick's coordination and balance were impaired, also called Ataxia. Nick became an expert on finger-nose and heel-chin testing.

Was I thinking stroke at this point? I was definitely afraid, so I called our neurosurgeon, and we added an MRI of the brain to rule it out.

Early that afternoon, however, our world was shattered as Nick was diagnosed with two cerebellar strokes due to vertebral artery dissection after chiropractic manipulation. He would spend the next 7 days in our hospital awaiting targeted anticoagulation therapy. Nick's experience was pleasant, and we will be forever grateful for the swift and precise work of our Neuro Trauma ICU team and everybody who was involved in Nick's care.

Nick owns a number in our Stroke registry and he will have lifelong effects from this event, but his outcome was fortunate and a second chance to us.

I consider Neuroscience Nursing my calling, now more than ever before, and stroke care is a very important part of it. Diligently moving forward in guided patient care and increased community awareness and knowledge will lead us to success in getting victims to the hospitals faster and delivering goal-oriented care and rehabilitation.

Written with permission of my husband and in adoration for the stroke care delivered at North Fulton Regional Hospital

North Fulton Regional Hospital (NFRH), part of Tenet Georgia, is a 167-bed, acute-care hospital located on Highway 9, Alpharetta Highway, in Roswell. Opened in 1983, NFRH serves North Fulton and surrounding counties through its team of over 1000 employees, 450 staff physicians and 250 volunteers. NFRH is a state-designated Level II trauma center and provides a continuum of services through its centers and programs, including neurosciences, orthopedics, rehabilitation, surgical services, bariatric surgical weight loss, gastroenterology and oncology. The hospital is fully accredited and also is certified as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the nation's oldest and largest hospital accreditation agency.

To learn more about the Stroke Center of North Fulton Regional Hospital, visit or call our Stroke Coordinator at 770-751-2708.

Contact us at: (860) 529 – 8826
Copyright Chiropractic Stroke Awareness Group, LLC