Judge says GW Hospital Was Key to Recovery


On average, one American dies from stroke every four minutes.* Because he got help fast, Chief Judge Lee F. Satterfield was not one of them.

Judge SatterfieldThe day was not particularly typical for Chief Judge Lee F. Satterfield of the Superior Court in Washington, DC. It started out at the funeral of a friend. After that, it was back to court and an afternoon meeting with his staff.

“It was during the meeting that my headache got stronger, and the left side of my body did not feel right,” he says. A colleague noticed something unusual with Judge Satterfield’s speech. So, after the meeting several staffers went to his office to check on him and decided to call 9-1-1.

“My staff knew something was wrong, so they called the paramedics,” says Satterfield. “After stabilizing me, the attendants asked what emergency room I wanted to go to. I told them GW Hospital, because my cardiologists are there.”

GW Hospital’s emergency team was waiting for Satterfield when he arrived.

Recognizing stroke symptoms, the team ordered a CT angiography scan, which provides visualization of arteries and vessels. When the results came back, a drug that breaks up blood clots — a common cause of strokes— was administered. With no immediate improvement, an endovascular thrombectomy was performed to reopen the blocked vessels. Recovery from the symptoms followed.

Satterfield returned to work two weeks after he left the hospital. He says he learned that, with a stroke, “time loss is brain loss.”

“I was fortunate that day to be surrounded by people who knew the symptoms and to be cared for by such an amazing team of physicians and nurses,” he adds.

Satterfield says that during his 10-day stay at GW Hospital, he was impressed with the level of care. “I was amazed at how cheerful everyone was and that they said hello to me. That was critical to my recovery,” he says. “Because everyone was so nice, I decided that our motto at the Superior Court would be ‘more smiling, less complaining.’”

*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Stroke is a medical emergency. Act FAST and CALL 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY if you see any of these warning signs of a possible stroke:

Is one side of the face drooping down?

Can the person raise both arms, or is one arm weak?

Is speech slurred or confusing?

Time is critical. Call 9-1-1 immediately

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Stroke Treatment

The Stroke Treatment Center is recognized as an outstanding program. It was awarded a Certificate of Distinction for Primary Stroke Centers by The Joint Commission, which recognizes centers that make exceptional efforts to foster better outcomes for stroke care.

Learn more >

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