Suzanne Moffett was ironing early morning on Sept. 11, 2015 when she suddenly passed out. The family dog couldn’t wake her up, so it lay at her side. Meanwhile Suzanne’s husband, Anthony, was getting no response from his routine calls to his wife from work. Worried that something was wrong, he called Suzanne’s sister to check on her.
An hour later, Suzanne was found and rushed by ambulance to Harris Health System’s Ben Taub Hospital. Staff suspected she was suffering a stroke. Neurological experts believe “time is brain” when providing life-saving care to stroke sufferers, and Suzanne was suffering the most severe type of stroke – a large blockage to a main brain artery. Her prognosis for permanent disabilities, even death, was almost certain.
As a Comprehensive Stroke Center that is highly acclaimed nationally, Ben Taub Hospital offers advance therapies and treatments for strokes. The hospital has established a reputation for outstanding stroke care, evident by receiving, for the third consecutive year, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Stroke Gold Plus-Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus award.
To achieve the award, Ben Taub Hospital boasts an impressive door-to-needle time of 60 minutes or less in 92.6 percent of eligible acute ischemic stroke patients compared to the national standard of 75 percent. This is the time staff uses to administer life-saving intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (IV tPA) to dissolve clots and improve blood flow. In fact, staff achieve these procedures in 45 minutes or less in 74.1 percent of cases, compared to the national standard of 50 percent.
Suzanne’s stroke required a fairly complex procedure, one staff have expertly performed at Ben Taub since 2011 – an endovascular mechanical suction thrombectomy – a catheter insertion into the affected vein to remove the blockage. The team mobilized and performed the minimally-invasive procedure with success.
An hour later, Suzanne was awake and alert, and asked a series of questions: “What day is today? What’s the date? Who’s the president?”
“I thought, ‘why are they asking me dumb questions?’ ” she recalls. “I had no idea what had happened or that I had suffered a stroke.”
Remarkably, Suzanne made a complete recovery showing no signs of lost cognitive ability or memory loss. She did have a slight loss of control to her left side, but that soon improved. However, complications from a heart condition that triggered her stroke did result in significant blood clots to her left leg that necessitated its amputation above the knee.
“That’s a small price to pay for having my wife back,” Anthony Moffett happily explained. “I know she’s a little depressed about losing her leg, but to me having her alive is all that matters. I thank God and the staff at Ben Taub Hospital for what they did for Suzanne. She’s my everything.”
Both say they appreciate the high level of care offered at Ben Taub Hospital to stroke patients and others.
Ben Taub Hospital also holds state and national certifications and accreditations from DNV-GL Healthcare and the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council (SETRAC). The recognitions place Ben Taub Hospital among elite facilities in the U.S. to offer cutting-edge stroke procedures, treatments and therapies.
Greater Houston has six comprehensive stroke centers. These designations are increasingly important and used by fire departments/EMS personnel to transport stroke sufferers for most appropriate care.