My partner and I were dispatched for a patient with an altered mental status. As always, my mind started to jump to the different possibilities. As we were enroute, we started to get more information from dispatch. In this case, it was a suspected stroke. My partner and I looked at each other and knew time would be of essence. With strokes, if caught early, the hospital can work towards getting blood flowing normally to the brain again, and perhaps prevent permanent damage.
When we arrived, our colleagues from the fire department were already on scene. They had taken initial vital signs and performed the Cincinnati Stroke Test, which is to discover if the patient has facial droop on one side, slurred speech, and arm drift (all signs that one side of the brain is not getting sufficient blood flow). This patient had all three, so we prepared for immediate transport.