Published on September 14, 2018

Reading Hospital To Recognize Sinking Spring Siblings with 2018 Stroke Champion Award

On Friday, September 14, Reading Hospital - Tower Health will present its 2018 Stroke Champion Award to two young siblings whose quick action and bravery helped save their grandmother's life this summer. 

Karen Hoerst, MD, vascular neurologist and medical director of the stroke program at Reading Hospital, will present the award to Mia Debiec, age 8, and Jack Debiec, age 12, at Reading Hospital's 9th Annual Stroke Quintessentials Conference. The presentation will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the conference location - DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Reading, 701 Penn St., Reading. State representative Jim Cox, along with Anthony Tucci, executive director of Western Berks Ambulance, also will present citations to the siblings.

On June 4, Mia and Jack were at their Sinking Spring home with their grandmother, Sandra Ludwig, 64, while their parents went out for dinner. At one point, Mia noticed that her grandmother seemed ill, and she brought it to her brother's attention. Jack called their mother immediately to tell her that Sandra was "leaning over, not looking at us, and not talking."

Annette Debiec, the children's mother and Sandra's daughter, immediately called 911 and arrived back at home as a Western Berks EMS crew came to the scene. EMS assessed Sandra and transported her by ambulance to the Reading Hospital emergency department, where she rapidly was given a clot-busting medication. Although her physicians anticipated that the clot would need to be surgically removed from her brain, the clot dissolved as she was on her way to surgery. After being treated in Reading Hospital's Intensive Care Unit and Advanced Primary Stroke Center, Sandra was able to return home on June 8.

It is important to recognize the signs of a stroke and help the person get proper medical help as soon as possible. Treatment within three hours of a stroke's occurrence can greatly reduce the risk of permanent damage or loss of life. Mia and Jack are being recognized because their presence of mind to seek immediate help significantly improved the outcome of this emergency.