Clot Retrieval Saves Retired Police Officer After Stroke

Karen and Krafts Stroke SupportJudy Kraft will always remember that morning she put off mowing the lawn. That little delay meant she was there when her husband Frank had a stroke. She spotted the signs and got him to the hospital, saving not only his life, but his quality of life.

“I was going to go outside, but luckily I didn’t,” she says. “I brought him some toast and then went back to the kitchen to get him some milk. I was gone maybe 90 seconds. When I came back, he looked at me funny and said, ‘That’s white water.’”

At first Judy thought he was just kidding around. But something felt off. So she tested him and asked for the name of their beloved pet bird.

Frank looked over at the cat and pointed— “That’s the bird.”

That’s when Judy knew for sure. “Come on,” she said. “We’re going for a ride.”

Time Matters
(The Krafts live just minutes away from Aurora BayCare. Judy drove Frank to the hospital herself, but if she had it to do over, she says, she’d call for a rescue squad.)

“I flew. I got him there and they were waiting. The stroke team—there were like six or seven RNs on him like bees on pollen. It brings tears to my eyes to think how fast they worked.”

Frank was taken for a CAT scan and Judy soon met with Dr. Darkhabani, Aurora BayCare’s stroke specialist and interventional neurologist. They’d administered clot busting drugs, but prognosis looked grim unless they could go in and grab the clot. Judy gave him the go-ahead.

“I just can’t say enough. Neither can Frank. People don’t know what Aurora BayCare can do. The interventional neurologist—there’s only, I think, four hospitals in the state that can do that. That’s it.”

Better Every Day
Frank stayed in the hospital for four days. On his second day back at home, Judy says, he was right back to working on their finances. His reading comprehension and number skills are fine, but he still has some lingering speech delays.

“I can talk quite a bit,” says Frank, “but if you ask me questions, I start to get confused.”

He’s been attending speech therapy sessions and continues to see improvements.

“We’ve been going to Aurora BayCare since the doors opened,” says Judy. “We have never had anything but 100% from them. They’ve put together a phenomenal facility, both in terms of building and team. They need to get the info out, about what they’re capable of.”

“We’re so blessed. We thank God Dr. Darkhabani was here, and that we were already Aurora BayCare patients. We have always had the very best care from all of our doctors, nurses, technicians…and support staff. Dr. Darkhabani’s ability was above and beyond any expectations, as were his kindness and care.” 

Frank Kraft is a retired Green Bay police officer. He founded the local Crime Stoppers chapter and is a past Officer of the Year for the state of Wisconsin. He is pictured above with his wife Judy, right, and Karen Floriano-Heimerl, left, Speech Therapist and leader of Aurora BayCare's Stroke Support Group

Think "FAST" to recognize a stroke
F - Face. Sudden facial droop, uneven smile. 
A - Arms. Sudden onset of arm/leg numbness, weakness.
S - Speech. Sudden onset slurred speech, difficulty understanding.  
T - Time. Seconds matter. Call 911 or get to the nearest hospital. 

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