LA GRANGE, Ky. — Knowing what to do if someone is having a stroke can have a lasting impact on their recovery. It’s a lesson one Kentucky family had to experience twice in three weeks when both Duke and Paul Nichter had acute strokes.

What You Need To Know

  • Knowing the symptoms of a stroke is important for recovery

  • Call 911 – It may be tempting to drive someone who is having a stroke to an emergency room right away, but they’ll get the proper care faster and get to the right emergency room if you call 911

  • Familiarize yourself with symptoms of stroke with the acronym BE FAST

  • BE FAST: Balance, Eyes, Face, Arms, Speech, Time

“Eye opening. It just happened so quickly. I had no idea it was going to happen, it just happened,” said Paul Nichter, who had his stroke a few weeks after his uncle survived one.

The greatest chance for recovery from stroke occurs when emergency treatment is started immediately.

“They were so fortunate that after their experience with Duke, that they were vigilant and aware of what was going on,” said Dr. Mahan Ghiassi, a neurosurgeon with Norton Neuroscience Institute.

Symptoms of Stroke - BE FAST

  • Balance - loss of balance, coordination, or dizziness
  • Eyes - having trouble seeing or change in vision in one or both eyes
  • Face - uneven smile or face looks uneven, droopy or is numb
  • Arms - one arm drops when raising both arms; numbness or weakness in one arm
  • Speech - trouble speaking; slurred or difficult speech
  • Time - note the time when symptoms start: Time lost equals brain lost

Dr. Ghiassi said it's exceedingly rare for two family members to have the same type of stroke within such a short duration.

“You see patients that refer family members but they are for elective procedures not emergency procedures. I haven’t actually had a family member presented with an acute stroke, especially not within a couple of weeks of each other,” Ghiassi said.

Ghiassi said luckily, they were able to cater the stroke treatment for both Duke and Paul. 

In Duke’s case, Ghiassi removed the clot up the leg and retrieved the clot through the femoral artery. For Paul, they were able to achieve the same outcome this time by using the radial artery in the arm. He’s pretty thrilled that the two are doing well.

“Both Paul and Duke fall into the very minor almost back to normal type of patients which is excellent for them. Their recovery is amazing. These are the success stories that we see,” said Dr. Ghiassi.

The uncle and nephew duo wanted to share their story with the rest of the Commonwealth in order to increase awareness for stroke.

“Blessed and thankful that my friends read into what was going on,” Nichter said. “Be fast with a stroke. Scary to think about what could’ve been."