Brownsville, TX — Stroke survivor Rosalio Hernandez and Valley Regional Medical Center celebrated EMS week by bringing the Brownsville, Los Fresnos, and Port Isabel EMS teams together for a Lifesaver Luncheon that reunited area resident Hernandez with his personal lifesavers, Isai Bulnez and Charles Cuvillier, both paramedics with Port Isabel EMS.

On April 28, around 9 p.m., Hernandez’s five-year-old great nephew, Liam, noticed something was not quite right with “Tata,” a term of endearment for Hernandez. Liam let his mom know that “Tata” was not able to move his arms enough to grab some candy Liam had offered. Noticing her uncle’s facial drooping and slurred speech, Hernandez’ niece, Shelby immediately took action and called 9-11. Shortly thereafter, the Port Isabel EMS paramedics arrived and rushed Hernandez to Valley Regional Medical Center.

“I feel good and happy to see those who saved my life. It is because of you that I am here today. Thank you,” said Hernandez as he addressed his lifesavers.

Both paramedics received recognition by Frank Acevedo, Chief Nursing Officer, for their role in the Door-to-Needle Time of twenty-two minutes. Their accurate assessment of Hernandez' condition and communication with the hospital during transit enabled the hospital’s emergency services team to be ready for Hernandez’ arrival, resulting in faster treatment for his stroke.

Door-to-needle time refers to the time it takes to administer the clot-busting drug tPA (Intravenous tissue plasminogen activator) which reduces long-term disability and complications when it is administered early to patients who suffer from ischemic stroke. The benefits of tPA in patients with acute ischemic stroke are time-dependent, and guidelines recommend a door-to-needle time of 60 minutes or less.

“The role paramedics play in our community in saving lives needs to be celebrated,” said Art Garza, Chief Executive Officer of Valley Regional Medical Center. “This reunion reuniting patient and paramedics underscores the importance of getting treatment as quickly as possible and reminds us of how all of us must work together to ensure the health of Valley residents.”

Valley Regional Medical Center is an Advanced Primary Stroke Center certified by The Joint Commission in collaboration with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Doctors and nurses provide 24/7 care, offering fast treatment for stroke and TIA patients.