• Stroke Survivor

Published on August 27, 2021

Surviving a Stroke 

Kevin Vieweg smiling on a bridge.

“I suffered a stroke, and Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital saved my life.”
– Kevin, Buellton

For stroke symptoms, BE FAST:

B: Balance loss
E: Eye blurriness
Face drooping
A: Arm weakness
S: Speech slurring
T: Time to call 911

In August 2020, Kevin was at work when he stepped out of his tow truck, started to walk across the yard, then suddenly lost consciousness and collapsed. A co-worker called 911, and Kevin was rushed to the ER at Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital (SYVCH).

Kevin had suffered a stroke. He was in his early 50s, and a care team quickly diagnosed him using the stroke protocol at SYVCH. This includes a CT scan, lab work and a collaboration between the emergency room physician and the on-call neurologist, who connects via a telemedicine platform using a computer with medical grade video and diagnostic capability.

Kevin was treated with a declotting medication called “tissue Plasminogen Activator” (tPA) within the vital 45-minute window to reduce brain damage.

“The hospital and the staff were fantastic,” Kevin said. “It makes me feel good knowing they’re so close to home.”

Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital has earned a “Stroke-Ready Certification” from The Joint Commission and Santa Barbara County Emergency Medical Services, which is a designation for excellence in the care of stroke patients based on:

  • Best patient outcomes – For best outcomes, intervention is needed within three hours. SYVCH offers tPA, the medication that can help reverse stroke symptoms.
  • Specialized equipment – With CT and MRI technology, SYVCH is able to quickly diagnosis a stroke.
  • Training – The staff at SYVCH is specially-trained to provide rapid, effective treatment for stroke patients.

These days, Kevin is back to enjoying the life he loves, which includes camping and boating at the Colorado River and Lake Havasu.

“If you have symptoms, don’t try to be a tough guy like me and ignore them,” Kevin said. “For what happened to me, I’m lucky I was close to Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital.”

If you are experiencing symptoms, call 911 or visit the nearest ER as soon as possible.

Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital

Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital

Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital (SYVCH) is recognized for outstanding care with honors including:

  • “Stroke-Ready Certification” by The Joint Commission and Santa Barbara County Emergency Medical Services
  • “Top 20 Best Practices in Patient Satisfaction,” by the National Rural Health Association in 2019
  • “Guardian of Excellence Award for Patient Experience” from Press Ganey

Being a Certified Stroke-Ready Hospital is a designation of excellence and shows a commitment to a higher standard of clinical care and results in saving lives and improving patient outcomes. The emergency room at Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital includes a Telestroke Program, with a neurologist on call 24/7 and a telemedicine robot to help expedite diagnosis and treatment when minutes are critical.

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Media and Public Relations Contact

Maria Zate, Manager of Public Relations

Phone: 805-879-8986