Erwin Gaines Stroke Patient

April 03, 2014

Arlene Gaines spends some of her free time volunteering at Providence Tarzana Medical Center. When her 76 year old husband Erwin suffered a stroke in the hospital parking lot, she knew just where to go to get a wheelchair, and rushed him into the Emergency Department (ED).

For Erwin, being in the right place at the right time saved his life. The ED at Providence Tarzana is an accredited Stroke Receiving Center, which means a team of specialists is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide life-saving stroke care. In fact, ambulances transporting stroke patients bypass hospitals without this certification and go directly to Stroke Receiving Centers.

Following his stroke, Erwin’s right side was not functional and he could not speak or swallow. The therapy team at Providence Tarzana Outpatient Therapy Center works with Erwin on a weekly basis, and has made great improvement as he is now able to talk and swallow. “This is a big thing,” says Erwin, “because now I’m back in circulation with my family and friends. Before I couldn’t speak or write so I felt out of contact.”

The speech therapists worked with Erwin on regaining speech and on swallowing so he could eat normally. Arlene praises their work saying, “He had a lot of problems with speech and swallowing. He couldn’t even swallow liquids. Now he can eat everything, and that is big! The fact that he can now talk with his sons and grandchildren is a whole different experience. It is so much better for all of us.”

Erwin’s physical therapist has had success as well. Following the stroke, he couldn’t use his right leg or arm. Today he is much improved and is walking with the aid of a walker or walking sticks and is using his arm. “I have made really good progress, but still am not able to write because my fingers aren’t yet working normally,” says Erwin. “I know it is going to take time, but it is worth it.”

“The care at the outpatient therapy center is very good. It takes time, but it is up to me to put the time in.”