KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Roger Branit is a professional photographer, and it was during a long day in the studio that a co-worker noticed something was off about Branit.
“Suddenly felt a little disoriented and like I could not stand up any more,” Branit recalled.
Branit was exhibiting the signs of a stroke - as highlighted in the acronym "F.A.S.T." which stands for facial drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulties, and time to call emergency services.
“At one point, the right side of my body, just went numb,” said Branit.
Branit was rushed to one hospital, then taken to St. Luke`s when it was clear he needed more help than a clot-busting IV, which is often given to many stroke patients.
The next step was to go to Dr. Coleman Martin, an Interventional Neurologist at St. Luke`s Hospital.
“The clot busting medicines that we give by IV, only work on small clots,” said Dr. Martin.
Branit`s clot was large, so it required more action.
“In any given night, we may screen five or six cases,” said Dr. Martin.
Thanks to new technology, only in use since 2013, Dr. Martin is able to go into the brain with a stint and retrieve the clot, using a tiny entry point in the leg, and following the artery through the body- to the brain.
“In those cases when we do get the artery open, and open completely, often the patient is left with no disability,” said Martin.
In Branit`s case, the clot was in an extremely delicate part of the brain, the part that affects his vision. For this photographer, blindness even in one eye could be devastating.
“In his case, his vision is his profession, so it was worth that little bit of extra risk to take things an extra step further,” Dr. Martin said.
About a month after his stroke, Branit can see, walk and talk, and is already considering his next gig, but with a little more regard for his health. And he`s warning others to know the signs of a stroke F.A.S.T.
“Be aware it can happen to you - nobody`s immune. Take care of yourself,” Branit said.