When it comes to saving the day, collies (like our old friend Lassie) have nothing on a good yellow Lab mix. At least not when you consider the tale that Larry and Pat Lee have to tell. One morning last fall, Larry Lee and his Lab, Dee, went out for a walk. A short time later, Pat heard barking, which progressed to really loud barking. So Pat decided to investigate, and she soon learned why Dee’s yelp was so insistent.
According to the story in the Rochester Post-Bulletin, Pat found her dog outside, but there was no sign of her husband. As it turned out, Larry had fallen “near the tree line of their property, unable to yell for help because he was having a stroke.” As Larry tells the newspaper, “It was just like quicksand … nothing was working. I couldn’t get to my cell phone or anything.”
Thankfully, his faithful friend led Pat to where Larry had fallen, and she was able to call for help. Larry was transported to Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea, Minnesota. There, doctors “connected by telemedicine video screen to a neurologist at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Rochester” to make sure Larry received appropriate treatment promptly, according to the P-B. After Larry was stabilized, “he began receiving therapy” and “a medical helicopter took him to Rochester.” Thanks to the quick actions of his canine companion, his wife and first responders, as well as timely medical intervention, Larry “survived and continues speech and swallowing therapy today … regaining much from the damage that was done, such as limitation of arm movement,” according to the newspaper.
Mayo’s Stroke Telemedicine Program allows stroke specialists to remotely evaluate people who’ve had acute strokes and make diagnoses and treatment recommendations working with emergency medicine doctors at other sites. Having a prompt neurological evaluation increases the possibility that a patient will receive clot-dissolving therapies or other interventions in time to reduce disability and death from stroke. The program began in Arizona, and now is represented nationally, with hubs in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota that serve more than 20 health care institutions in seven states.
While the medical wizardry isn’t lost on the Lees, for them, it all comes back to Dee. “I don’t know how it would have turned out if that dog hadn’t kept on me to get going,” Pat tells the P-B. “We don’t realize that these animals can take care of us!”
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