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How knowing the signs of a stroke saved one Payson man's life

Posted at 9:42 PM, Mar 23, 2023

PAYSON, Utah — According to the World Health Organization, one in four people will have a stroke in their lifetime, making strokes a serious concern for people all over the world.

Time is of the essence when it comes to strokes, and one man’s life was saved because he was in the right place at the right time.

Charles Cranney was checking out a car at Robert Marsh Car and Truck Sales in Payson. After taking this car on a test drive, he took it to a local mechanic to be checked out.

Given the all-clear, he drove back to the dealership to make a deal but that’s when he began to experience stroke symptoms.

While driving up, he dropped his AirPod on the ground outside the car and laid down to get it.

Feeling dizzy and woozy, he stayed on the ground which is when Sales manager Steven Holdaway noticed something was wrong and came out to ask if Cranney was okay.

Though Cranney said he was fine, Holdaway knew something was off and helped Cranney into the very car he was test driving.

“He had a droopy expression on his face and a lot of drool coming out of his mouth,” Holdaway said.

Cranney had suffered a stroke while driving to the dealership, and his symptoms quickly worsened.

With the clock ticking, Holdaway rushed him to the nearby Mountain View Hospital.

At the hospital, doctors used a variety of technology, including remotely accessed doctors via cameras, to diagnose Cranney with a large vascular occlusion (LVO).

Dr. Cameron Meyer, the ER stroke medical director at Mountain View Hospital, said that even minutes without oxygen to the brain can be detrimental or even fatal.

Meyer and a stroke neurologist, Dr. Norman, administered the drug TNK, which studies have shown is more effective than others for Cranney’s type of stroke.

Meanwhile, Holdaway stayed by Cranney’s side, offering support and comfort. “That connection was there,” Cranney said.

Though the hospital did all it could, Cranney still had a long road ahead. He was taken by helicopter to St. Mark’s Hospital, a comprehensive stroke center, where Dr. Danielle Sorte performed surgery to remove the clot.

"This is a really revolutionary treatment, endovascular therapy that was sort of recently proven only in about 2015," said Dr. Sorte, a NeuroInterventional Radiologist.

Cranney, a stroke victim, recalls the doctor telling him that the surgery took only 18 minutes.

"The process being quick and being able to remove the clot contributing to functional outcome is an example of the whole system and the technology working really well together," said Dr. Sorte.

Everything possible that could have gone right did and while Charles is here to tell the tale, this matters to you too.

"It's important to realize it can happen to anybody," said Dr. Meyer.

According to statistics, every 40 seconds someone in the U.S. has a stroke, and every 3.5 minutes someone dies.

In Utah, strokes are the 7th leading cause of death, and while higher age is a risk factor, 38% of strokes per year happen to those under 65.

A few hours after surgery, Cranney was back to normal and was able to walk out of the hospital after a few days.

"I would be amiss if I didn't think that there was a heavy influence the technology has developed. I'm thankful for God, I could still do what I love to do because I love my work. I love my home. I love my family," said Cranney adding he has reached"100% recovery and just miraculous recovery just because of all those people that were there to help," he added.

Of all the people who helped, the biggest of course was Steven Holdaway.

"His recovery was miraculous really and, and spectacular," said Steven, "I guess I'm fortunate that I did know what was going on because I don't know what I would have done if I didn’t.”

The two have developed a friendship built on an unpredictable set of circumstances and being in the right place at the right time.

But what about the car Charles took on a test drive? Well according to him "We had to buy the car from him. At that point. We joke a little say, well, if he's gonna stay with him in the hospital for that, you know, time, I'd better buy the car from him. So we did," said Cranney.

Cranney urges everyone to act fast if they or someone they know experiences stroke symptoms.

"I would say that if there's any question that somebody might be having any of those symptoms of a stroke, get him to the hospital. If you're wrong, so be it. But if you're right, you might be saving a whole life," he said.

If you think this is ever happening to you or someone you know, then remember the acronym BE FAST

Know the signs and symptoms of a stroke

For more information head to their website here.