NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Stroke survivors and their doctors will take part in ceremonies tonight before the Arkansas Travelers face the Springfield Cardinals at Dickey-Stephens Park.
It is a perfect afternoon for a baseball game and for David Bullock, days like these are more special than ever.
"I never dreamed of anything like that. I knew what was going on but I could not move, could not talk, it was a terrible feeling," says Bullock. "Last June, I was at work and walked out from underneath an airplane and just fell out."
Bullock's wife rushed him to a Dewitt hospital where through the use of telemedicine, a doctor at UAMS in Little Rock diagnosed him immediately.
"He knew immediately I'd had a major stroke and time was of the essence to get me to Little Rock as fast as they could get me here," says Bullock.
It is a program called Arkansas Saves, where neurologists can see patients at rural hospitals through video conferencing. Dr. Curtis Lowery developed the UAMS program.
"It became apparent to us that stroke was a really bad problem in the state of Arkansas. We are actually the worst in the nation as far as stroke deaths and we felt that the telemedicine could provide a tool to help treat people in the rural areas when they have a stroke more effectively," says Dr. Lowery.
Monday, doctor and patient threw out the first pitch at the Arkansas Travelers game, striking out strokes once and for all.
"I'm still able to do 99% of everything I was doing so I'm very lucky," says Bullock.
UAMS' telemedicine program is offered in 39 rural hospitals across the state. Dr. Lowery says the mortality rate for strokes is 40% less at those hospitals.
May is National Stroke Awareness Month and AR SAVES (Arkansas Stroke Assistance through Virtual Emergency Support) will host the second annual 'Strike Out Stroke' event.
AR SAVES highlights the use of a high-speed video communications systems to help provide immediate, life-saving treatments to stroke patients 24 hours a day at hospitals across the state.