Medical professionals from across the state of Washington gathered at Swedish’s Cherry Hill campus on Wednesday for a mock stroke event. The idea behind the event is to make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to best practices in caring for stroke patients. Each year nearly 800,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke.

“In health care, it’s important for staff to be able to practice things that may not happen that often. We have a lot of staff at our facility but each staff member may only see a patient presenting with an acute stroke a few times per year,” Sheila Smith, the Medical Director for the Stroke Program at Swedish said. “We need to be fast and that’s part of the reason we need to be here today because when we see a patient for stroke, we do have rescue therapies that we can offer them.”

Brianne Cassidy never thought she would suffer a stroke. She was 27 when she was tubing on the lake with a suffered an injury that led to a headache that wouldn’t go away. A few weeks later she was laying on the couch when she suffered a stroke.

“I was quickly transferred to the hospital and they figured out that I was having a major stroke,” Cassidy said. “I think everybody has the reaction that I had which is young people don’t have strokes. People in their 90’s have strokes, but the reality is that’s not true, people at any age can have a stroke and it’s just really important to know the symptoms and react as quickly as you can.”

At the mock stroke event, they went over the main symptoms that include poor speech, a facial droop, and arm weakness. There were several medical professionals in attendance, essentially everyone who cares for stroke patients from ems to emergency room staff to neurologists.

“It’s great to get an entire community together to really practice best practice on how to take care of a stroke patient in a timely efficient manner,” Smith said.

Every four minutes someone dies from a stroke, and Swedish officials say that 80 percent of strokes can be prevented. Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the United States.

The mock stroke event was broadcast across the state to Providence hospitals in Walla Walla, Everett, and Olympia, in addition to the crowd that gathered in Seattle.