MacyAfter 27 years working for Macy’s Southland in the Men’s Department, Virginia Plemmons of Trenton takes great pride in her work. She enjoys bonding with new and regular clients, sharing great clothing styles to help them feel good about themselves. But little did Virginia know, her place of work would be instrumental in prompt action that may have saved her life.

Virginia explains on March 19th, 2023, she felt great until 15 minutes before the end of her shift. “I was checking out one of my customers and, while looking down at the register, the keyboard went blank.” She recalls seeing a flash of light, and before she could comprehend what was happening, suddenly she could not see.

When moments count, the stars were aligned

During the events that followed, Virginia feels the “stars were aligning” more than she would ever realize. One of the last memories of that day was when she said to her manager that something was wrong. She recalls somehow getting onto the counter to prevent from falling to the ground. Fortunately for Virginia, a doctor who was in line waiting to be checked out recognized her symptoms and stayed with her until EMS arrived. Virginia was having an acute stroke that would later require advanced intervention.

Her colleagues knew to contact her son, Jaimie Plemmons, who was in Florida. Jaimie did not receive detailed information, other than there was an event with his mom, and she was being rushed to Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital. Coincidentally, his wife, Elizabeth Plemmons, MD, is chair and medical director of the Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine. She was originally planning to be in Florida with Jaimie but due to work commitments, she was at the hospital. After learning more details, Dr. Plemmons informed her husband he needed to get on a plane home.

Virginia was unconscious during transport to Henry Ford Wyandotte. Upon arrival, she required a breathing tube, management of vitals, a head computed tomography (CT) imaging, and medication to address the stroke. Through this early intervention and Dr. Plemmons' ability to provide medical history and baseline information, a large vessel occlusion (LVO) was discovered. LVO strokes are a type of ischemic stroke that occur when a major artery in the brain is blocked.

Shortly after the diagnosis, Virginia was transferred to Henry Ford Hospital, where the stroke team promptly began treatment, including the removal of the blockage by Alex Chebl, MD, vascular and interventional neurologist and director, Henry Ford Stroke Center.

The value of integrated care

Macy's StoryVirginia’s stroke occurred on a Sunday, and by Friday of that same week, she went back to Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital, where she quickly progressed through physical therapy given the significant stroke she had.

Although Virginia has experienced some visual and motor deficits, the spry 80-year-old is back to work at the store that helped save her life. “Going back to work helps me with my memory, and I feel it’s an important part of my recovery.”

Jaimie Plemmons says he appreciated having his mom being able to come back to her community for rehabilitation at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital and is grateful for the entire team managing her care.

“I am so grateful for the team that intervened to save my mother, both at Henry Ford Wyandotte and Henry Ford Hospital. I always felt welcomed at Henry Ford Hospital and was kept up to date at every turn,” Dr. Plemmons echoes his sentiment.

“I am proud to be a part of a system where someone can have an acute event, get stabilized, get world-class care at a higher level, come back to their home community for rehabilitation, and outpatient cardiac and ophthalmology follow-up, all within the same system in a seamless manner. This is integration at its finest."

For further information visit Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital and Henry Ford Stroke Centers.


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