Help the Ones You Love by Knowing the Signs of Stroke – Letter from Valley Board Chair, Donna Russell

Help the Ones You Love by Knowing the Signs of Stroke – Letter from Valley Board Chair, Donna Russell


I’d like to talk with you about Valley’s Stroke Center, new hybrid operating suite and BiPlane Lab dedicated to neuro-interventional care. Some may not realize how exciting these are, but they are true game changers for our community when it comes to saving lives, preserving brain function and quality of life.

Let me tell you why this is so important to me personally…

Many of us know someone who has had a stroke or aneurysm causing a clot, blockage and/or bleeding in the brain. I only know of one person who has survived an aneurysm, but have heard countless stories of those who did not. In my own family, my dad suffered a massive stroke and ended up in a nursing home, unable to speak or walk. He lived for nearly three years unable to eat normal food due to difficulty swallowing and trapped in a body that was wasting away and getting progressively weaker from repeated infections.

He was active and healthy (we thought) when it happened. The night before his stroke he wasn’t feeling well– but he wouldn’t call 9-1-1. We learned afterward that if he had gone to the Emergency Department the night before, he would have received a medication, called tPA (tissue Plasminogen Activator), and would very likely have returned home with little to no side effects. It is one of my greatest regrets that I was not able to convince my dad to go to the hospital that night. I don’t want anyone else to suffer the same fate.

Stroke is the #5 killer in South King County and fortunately, Valley has a comprehensive stroke program that starts immediately with the Emergency Department, providing our community with the best opportunity to survive and resume life with an intact and fully functioning brain. But you need to get here in time.

The most important thing to know is that time = brain cells so know the signs of stroke with an easy acronym:

Face droop or numbness
Arm weakness or numbness
Speech slurred or confusion
Time is of the essence, call 9-1-1

Valley’s Stroke Center provides the highest level of stroke prevention and care. Our Emergency Department follows strict stroke protocols for rapid diagnosis and treatment. With the addition of the Hybrid OR Suite and BiPlane Lab for neuro-interventional care, we can now provide expanded and minimally-invasive treatment options at Valley for stroke and aneurysm such as blood clot removal, aneurysm coiling/clipping, aortic aneurysm repair and carotid stenting. This is critical because the shorter the time from arrival to diagnosis and treatment, the better the outcome.

REMEMBER: When you or someone you know is having symptoms, please do not hesitate— call 9-1-1!

Your Feedback

As always, please let us know how we’re doing. Tell us about your experience at Valley, make a suggestion or contact us for answers to your questions. There are several ways to provide feedback:

  • Patient Rounding: Staff in the hospital and clinics often round on patients to check on how they’re doing and see if there’s anything needed to make their stay more comfortable. Don’t be shy, we’re asking because want the opportunity to improve.
  • Post-visit Patient Surveys: A random sampling of patients receive an anonymous survey requesting information about their experience, giving us valuable insight into where we can improve.
  • Contact Us on provides a convenient way to submit your feedback or questions.
  • Social Media and Rating Sites: We monitor online comments and provide follow-up when appropriate.
  • Consider volunteering for Valley’s Patient and Family Advisory Council: This community group partners with members of the healthcare team to provide guidance on how to improve the patient and family experience. Learn more.
  • Letters to the Board can be sent to:
    Valley Medical Center
    Care of Kathryn Holland,
    Executive Assistant to the CEO
    Board of Trustees & Board of Commissioners
    PO Box 50010
    Renton, WA 98058

Hope you’re having a great summer!


About The Author

Valley Medical Center's Marketing and Community Outreach Office