“I wanted to fight,” recalls Island Hospital patient, Paula Paulus, as she retells what she remembers of the day a stroke caused her to collapse in her home, alone. Paula was on the phone with Reta, a friend who lives in Canada, when she collapsed in her kitchen in October of 2018. “I don’t remember much. I heard my friend calling, ‘Paula, Paula!’ through the phone receiver,” she recounts. Concerned that something terrible had happened, Reta called 911 (Canada) who then contacted 911 (USA) to dispatch Emergency Medical Services to Paula’s residence in Anacortes.

When Paula arrived at the Island Hospital Emergency Department (ED) it was clear that her condition was serious. Paula was having an ischemic stroke and needed a very specific drug treatment called tPA. There was a problem: tPA must be administered within a few hours from when stroke symptoms first appear and no one knew when Paula’s stroke began.

Chief Medical Director of the Emergency Department, Dr. Justin Curran, coordinated the ED medical staff to investigate a timeline while simultaneously keeping Paula stable. After contacting the EMS (USA) dispatch center who then called 911 (Canada) the medical team was able to reach Paula’s friend Reta. Reta provided a timeline so the medical team could adequately treat Paula.

“It was miraculous of [the medical team],” says Paula. “They were at the right place at the right time for me.”

The Island Hospital Emergency Department is a Level 2 Stroke Center. “Thank goodness we are here,” says Director, Kelly Pearson, BSN, RN. “Not every community has an Emergency Department. We have services people need.”

The Emergency Department serves 1,300-1,500 patients each month and the numbers are increasing. A growing demand for emergency department services brings an added need for the equipment which help medical staff to continue to provide high-quality care. For example, over half of the patients who visit the ED require telemetry equipment to assist with diagnosis and to monitor patient conditions. The information from telemetry machines helps the medical staff make lifesaving decisions for their patients. At present, our ED has just one machine.

Island Hospital Foundation’s 2019 Gala of Hope will dedicate funds raised through the Heartstrings Appeal to purchasing several, new telemetry machines for the ED. New telemetry equipment will provide better analysis and quicker results. Supporting this effort will continue to provide high-quality care in a department where every second counts.

You can be the miracle that saves someone’s life. By attending the 16th Annual Gala of Hope, The Color of Miracles, on Saturday, April 27th, you can create miracles of all sizes. In addition to supporting the ED, proceeds from the Gala will sustain funding for patient relief grants, the Mental Health Intervention program, the Health Resource Center, preventative health screenings, new Palliative Care and Diabetes Education programs, and more. Guests are invited to dress in the color of their miracle as they dine with friends, bid on splendid auction items, and raise their paddle high to support Island Hospital’s Emergency Department during this one-of-a-kind experience.

Not only is Paula’s family amazed that Paula is making a full recovery, they are impressed by the care provided to Paula. “I can’t believe this doctor, that he called [to follow up],” shared Paula’s loved ones referring to Dr. Curran who contacted them days after Paula’s stroke to check in on Paula’s recovery. Quality care close to home means miracles happen here.

Tickets for the Gala of Hope are $150 each. Sponsorships range from $1,600 – $10,000. Tickets and sponsorships are available from the Foundation office and online at www.myihf.org.

Save the date, purchase your tickets, or become an event sponsor and make miracles happen.