UMC's Comprehensive Stroke Center Saves the Day for Guadalupe Dominguez

As Guadalupe Dominguez and her husband, Frank Dominguez were preparing for bed the evening before they were to travel to Odessa, Texas to visit with their grandson, they did not anticipate the rapid change of plans that were to come. 

“I was undressing to go to sleep and I felt a very terrible pain in my head,” said Mrs. Dominguez. “I guess I fell down and I don’t remember what happened to me.”

Mr. Dominguez went into action. “She just collapsed,” he said. “She went forward. She was lying down and when she started to vomit, I cleared her passage and called 9-1-1. They were here in less than five minutes.”

The EMS workers arrived and immediately detected the symptoms of a stroke. They quickly decided to transport Mrs. Dominguez to University Medical Center’s Comprehensive Stroke Center.

“It is very important to call 9-1-1,” said Carla Escobar, Nurse Manager, and Critical Care at University Medical Center. “We really would like patients to call our EMS Services. EMS is very well adapted to stroke symptoms. They know the stroke facilities and they know where the patient needs to go for the best chance,” adds Escobar. “All the EMS agencies pre-notify the hospitals when they are coming, so that way we know when we have a stroke patient coming in, that we have already activated our team. Everyone is already responding to the Emergency Room when that patient crosses the door.”

Mr. Dominguez agrees. “Once we got here, there was a team waiting. They took quick action. They evaluated and found out what happened.”

Mrs. Dominguez had suffered a brain aneurysm. Approximately, 30,000 people in the United States experience a brain aneurysm when the blood vessel ruptures.

“On the vessel wall,” said Escobar, “(it is) like a little balloon that sticks out from the wall. Sometimes the balloon wall has blood flow that goes in and is slushing around like a cul-de-sac. Sometimes,” she continued, “that can cause the wall to become thinner and weaker and eventually rupture and that causes a hemorrhagic stroke. What we do here at UMC is we have an embolization procedure. We go in through the groin. We go all the way up to where we see the leak is happening and we stop that leak. We coil that aneurysm to where we won’t have any further blood loss from that area.”

Thankfully, a few days later, Mrs. Dominguez was able to return home and since it was during the winter holiday season, she was able to spend Christmas with her family.

Mr. Dominguez is thankful. “All the staff and all the personnel were so ready to assist. We are very grateful.”