Telehealth monitoring allowed for critical remote stroke diagnosis

Posted on 5/2/2018

Palmetto Health recognizes National Stroke Awareness Month with stories of patients who experienced a terrifying time in their lives, but found the care they needed and the strength within themselves to pull through and recover. This is the second of four stories we will be highlighting during the month of May.

It was August 21, 2017, the day of the total solar eclipse, when Shelby Hall was gathering laundry to load into the washer and a "funny" feeling came over her.

"I had to sit down," recalls Shelby. "I just felt, if I could make it to the chair, I would be fine. Thank the Lord my husband decided to come home. When I heard him come in, I stood up and hollered, I can't see!"

Shelby, a retired teacher's assistant and resident of Greenwood, had just experienced a stroke, though she and her family did not know what had happened. All they knew was that she was blind and could barely speak. An EMS ambulance team rushed her to the hospital in Greenwood where telehealth monitoring allowed a neurologist to remotely study her condition and determine she needed a special "clot-busting" medicine (tPA) that helps free the flow of blood in a blocked artery.

In critical need of surgery, Shelby was then airlifted to the closest Primary Stroke Center, Palmetto Health Richland, where she received coordinated care from a team of stroke specialists. Chief of Neurosurgery Roham Moftakhar, MD, performed the thrombectomy that removed the clot, followed by the angioplasty that restored blood flow to her artery. A stent was later required to keep the vessel open.

At 80 years old, Shelby is feisty and outspoken. You know from only a few minutes of talking with her that she is a real fighter. She spent two weeks at Palmetto Health Richland recuperating, and during that time she made an effort to stay out of bed as much as possible.

"Dr. Moftakhar would come into my room, and I would always be sitting up or sitting in a chair. He would tell me, ‘Hold that arm up; keep it up.' I didn't ask him why. I knew it was for a reason. But it's fine now."

Today, Shelby is almost completely back to normal. She says she still has a little trouble with her speech, though you would never know it from talking with her. She remains thankful for the care she received in her time of need. "Beyond excellent," she remarks. "I continue to carry out my care here. If anything happens to my husband – I hope and pray not – but if it does, and it means me coming over here from Greenwood and staying, I will stay!"

Shelby's daughter, Renee Branyon, worked in health care for more than 30 years and concurs. "I've never seen more caring people with more empathy. You feel it coming from the heart."

Palmetto Health Stroke Center

When seconds count, turn to our team of stroke experts.

Expert physicians and advanced technology have earned the Stroke Center at Palmetto Health accreditation as an Advanced Certification Primary Stroke Center from The Joint Commission. Our team is on-site 24/7.

We are a multidisciplinary program of care for patients throughout the hospital, from the Emergency Department to the Stroke Unit, and we incorporate state-of-the-art approaches to caring for those patients affected by stroke.


Learn More



RSS 2.0