A 'stroke of luck': Commissioner Dave Sullivan on health scare

'I was very lucky that I was able to call 911 quickly, EMS was fast, and AdventHealth was well prepared for stroke patients,' Sullivan said.

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  • | 5:00 p.m. January 9, 2023
  • Palm Coast Observer
  • Opinion
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by: Dave Sullivan, Flagler County Commissioner, District 3        

Wednesday, Dec. 7, I was sitting at home in front of my computer when the left side of my body started going numb. A week earlier I had a similar feeling, but it stopped quickly, and I was able to resume normal life after a check with my doctor and scheduled tests for Dec. 9.  

However, this time the condition was getting worse, and I was alone, so I immediately called 911. The response was immediate. The operator kept me on the phone until the ambulance arrived at my house, and the Flagler County Fire Rescue team raced me to the emergency department at AdventHealth Palm Coast. 

Every moment matters in a medical emergency like this, and tests started immediately.  Every team member at the hospital involved in my care treated me with utmost care and expert knowledge.   

By time I was in my hospital room, it was clear I’d had a stroke and remedial treatment was already started.

After my stroke, I was numb on my entire left side from head to toe. But I could still speak, think and see clearly. That’s important because it meant I could start rehabilitation and get on the road to recovery as soon as possible. 

But my care didn’t stop in Palm Coast.  I’d made enough progress with physical exercise that just days later, I was moved to AdventHealth’s inpatient rehabilitation facility in Daytona Beach. It’s a truly world-class facility on the 12th floor of the hospital you see on I-95. All of the doctors, nurses, and team members treated me with expert care, focused on getting me back on track. 

I was in that facility for 10 days, going home on Dec. 20, in time to spend Christmas with my daughter, who traveled here from Texas. 

AdventHealth is still supporting my recovery, providing in-home care as I continue to make progress towards a full recovery. 

To boil this down: I was very lucky that I was able to call 911 quickly, EMS was fast, and AdventHealth was well prepared for stroke patients. There are more than 795,000 stroke victims each year and every four minutes, someone dies from a stroke. 

As a current Flagler County commissioner, I thought it appropriate to make public this situation for a couple of reasons. First, to let our citizens know that we have an excellent emergency response team here in the county; second, as an elected official, I thought it was important let people know what my medical situation was to avoid rumors that things might be worse than they are. God was looking out for me this time, but a little luck does not hurt either. 


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