System News

Friday, December 13, 2019 - Roper Hospital honors 10-year-old hero who helped save his great-grandmother’s life after recognizing stroke symptoms
David and EthelDoctors and nurses at Roper Hospital called 10-year-old David Brown of Adams Run a hero for correctly recognizing his great-grandmother was suffering from a stroke and taking the necessary steps to save her life.

Brown said he noticed his great grandmother, 82-year-old Ethel Brown, had slurred her speech and that her left arm was limp. A lover of science who loves watching medical-related videos, David immediately remembered a video he once watched on YouTube about how to tell whether someone is suffering a stroke. He called his mother, who dialed 911 and rushed Ethel to Roper Hospital, where she was successfully treated for a stroke.

On Thursday, David Brown was awarded the Roper St. Francis Healthcare Stroke Warrior Certificate and the Roper St. Francis Excellence in Action Award. Although these awards are typically given to Roper St. Francis Healthcare employees who demonstrate excellence on the job, no one is more deserving than David.

Roper St. Francis Healthcare leaders commended David for his outstanding critical thinking, communication and collaboration.

"Learning the signs and symptoms of a stroke from a video and being able to apply it, that makes this a million times more special," said Tabitha Nolen, stroke program manager for Roper St. Francis Healthcare. "His great grandmother is here today and doing very well because of him. We're so proud of him."

David ad nd his grandmother, Ethel

David said he was surprised to receive the awards and that it made him feel "happy and famous."

South Carolina is in the “stroke belt,” a cluster of eight southeastern states with high stroke mortality rates. Even a few seconds can make a difference in outcome when it comes to strokes, so it’s critical that all residents know the signs and symptoms, which include:

  • Sudden, severe headache
  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arms or legs, especially on only one side
  • Trouble speaking or understanding
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Dizziness

If you experience any of the above, or see someone else experiencing symptoms of a stroke, call 911 immediately. Do NOT hesitate – stroke is one of those areas where it’s better to be safe than sorry. Getting someone who has suffered a stroke to an emergency room quickly can be lifesaving.

Because it can be hard to think quickly, especially in a potential medical emergency, learn the acronym BE FAST as an easy way to remember the signs and symptoms of stroke.

David, Ethel and hospital staff


  • Balance – loss of balance
  • Eyes – blurred vision
  • Face – facial drooping
  • Arms – arm weakness
  • Speech – slurred speech
  • Time – call 911 for immediate medical attention

Fast facts and numbers about strokes in South Carolina:

  • South Carolina has the 15th highest death rate from cardiovascular disease in the country.
  • Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in South Carolina.
  • 10,418 people in SC died of heart disease in 2017.
  • Stroke is the No. 5 killer in South Carolina.
  • 2,691 people in South Carolina died of stroke in 2017
Source: American Heart Association 
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