Kevin Hicks - Why I Walk
Kevin Hicks is the CEO of Overland Park Regional Medical Center - part of HCA Midwest Health, Kansas City’s leading healthcare provider. He is also a stroke survivor and participates in the Kansas City Heart and Stroke Walk, which will be held May 20.
I have been involved in Heart and Stoke Walk through HCA Midwest Health for more than a decade. In the past, I have walked to support friends, family and patients. This year, the Heart and Stroke Walk has a different meaning for me.
I am a stoke survivor. One year ago, I was in my office and suddenly became weak and dizzy. I tried a water and a little fresh air, but the symptoms did not resolve. They actually got worse.
Fortunately, I do not just work at a hospital; I work at a special place: Overland Park Regional Medical Center, a designated primary stroke center. Within a few days, I had the opportunity to experience first-hand what the compassionate and expert care that our comprehensive stroke care team provides.
I decided to walk myself to the ER and I was met by a physician and nurse who could tell that something was wrong. I was confused, my left side was weak and I was experiencing coordination problems. I was scared.
After quick but careful consideration, my care professionals administered tissue plasminogen activator or tPA, which is the only FDA-approved treatment for ischemic strokes and is considered the gold standard. I spent the next two nights receiving care from nurses, patient care technicians, physicians, therapists, phlebotomists, and many more in our Intensive Care Unit. During this extremely vulnerable time, I was blessed with that my work family was by my side taking care of me.
As you can imagine, it was a terrifying experience for my family and me. I was moved seeing such great care provided to my friends and family, and with this event I have experienced it now first-hand. I know how fortunate and blessed I am to have made a full recovery. I am grateful for my bright prognosis and so far seamless recovery.
My experience was professional, caring, and healing. I have a new level of pride in our hospital. Not only am I now more knowledgeable of our stellar healthcare family and what life-changing care we provide, but I am a better CEO for the experience.
I never thought that stroke could happen to me. But it did. It can happen to you too. I encourage you to check in with your primary care physician to learn about health risks of stroke. And know ACT FAST, as in my case it saved my life.
Finally, please support the Heart and Stroke Walk, you never know when you may need the work of the American Heart Association.