By Woodrow Polston
Last spring, Friday, May 21 was just another day for City Administrator Darren Berry. He was out of the office and was taking a walk, as he often likes to do. As he was heading toward the park, he noticed a familiar face and decided to stop and have conversation. It was Ryan Schuckenbrock and his co-worker Stephen Butler, who were sitting in their company truck.
“We were sitting behind our office in the alley way, and Darren just happened to be walking by and stopped to talk to us,” said Schuckenbrock. “We were just having a chat and all of a sudden that’s when it happened,” he added.
Berry was having a stroke. And although Schuckenbrock and Butler were uncertain as to what was happening, they knew that something just wasn’t right.
“He wasn’t speaking in full sentences and was struggling to communicate,” said Butler. “He started to stumble around, and that is when we jumped out to grab him,” added Butler. As soon as they got out to assist him, they realized that they needed to make the call for help. After they dialed 911, the paramedics made a quick trip to come and pick him up. They were able to immediately determine that he was in fact having a stroke. It was decided that he would be taken to the hospital in Columbia, Mo. Once there, He was treated over the weekend and released.
To honor the two men for helping to save Berry’s life that day, they were invited to the Van-Far Ambulance District board meeting on Monday, where they were presented certificates by Administrator Wendy Hull. They were also commended by Hull, who described the dangers of inaction during a stroke.
“Every six seconds that pass during a stroke, the victim can lose a pea size portion of their brain,” said Hull. “It is vital that medical attention is sought immediately during an emergency such as this,” she added.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, stroke related deaths are estimated to be around 150,000 in the U.S. each year. A stroke causes brain tissue to die, which can lead to brain damage, disability, and death. Stroke is a leading cause of death in the U.S. and is a major cause of serious disability for adults. The CDC website states that people can greatly reduce their risk for stroke by making lifestyle changes to help control blood pressure and cholesterol levels and, in some cases, by taking medication. Signs to look for in a stroke victim include face drooping, arm weakness, sudden dizziness and speech difficulty.
When a stroke victim is transported by ambulance, paramedics may be able to start treatment right away and can alert the hospital that a stroke patient is on the way. This notification gives the hospital’s medical team time to prepare needed equipment and medicines.
Your doctor can perform several tests to diagnose stroke, such as brain imaging, including a magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography scan, tests of the brain’s electrical activity, and blood flow tests. If you or someone you know exhibits the signs of a stroke, call 911 immediately.
Berry said was thankful for the help that he received that day. And despite his declaration of being “As tough as nails,” he admits that Schuckenbrock and Butler saved his life that day.