A Dallas police officer who had a stroke last week has made the fastest recovery Baylor Hospital has ever seen.
It happened as the officer was on duty responding to a call in Pleasant Grove. Doctors credit the officer's remarkable recovery to his ability to recognize the signs he was having a stroke and getting to the hospital quickly.
The officer had a stroke while on the job last Sunday. He was released from the hospital in just 41 hours and will be back on the job within one week of having the stroke.
Dallas Officer William Parker was responding to a call Sunday of a person acting erratically outside a convenience store at the corner of Prairie Creek and Lake June Road in Pleasant Grove. He noticed a bright spot in his vision he thought was from the sun, but it wouldn't go away and quickly got worse.
“As I sat in my car right here trying to look at my computer, it got to where I couldn't see at all,” Parker recalled.
Dallas Fire-Rescue was also responding to the same call and firefighters were wrapping up when Parker asked them to check him out too. He measured an alarming blood pressure of 90/120.
DFR was able to transport Parker quickly in an ambulance to Baylor Hospital within the hour. Doctors say it was crucial in getting him the needed medication in time to be effective.
“Every minute that lack of blood flow goes on in the brain, we know there's a risk for about 1.9 million brain cells and neurons actually dying or becoming damaged or destroyed,” said Baylor Hospital Dr. Dion Graybeal.
Parker had an unrelated brain tumor removed two years ago and was told by doctors at the time he could have a stroke down the line, so he knew the symptoms to look for.
“We call it the perfect storm because had not everybody been there, it might've been a delay in care that may have caused something else to happen,” Parker said.
Since then, Parker has been cleared to come back to work. He doesn't have to go through any physical therapy and has no lasting effects from the stroke he had just days ago. But both his doctor and Officer Parker stress it could've been much worse if he'd waited much longer.
“Don't delay the help because delaying the help could have lasting effects,” Parker warned. “And the only reason why I'm going back to work with no issues is because I got help so quickly.”
Officer Parker will return to work Sunday on the third anniversary of the July 7 ambush. He says the significance of that day makes coming back to work even more meaningful to him.