News Releases

Susan White

Molly Gaus


Making Miracles Happen

Melrose Park, Ill. (July 13, 2009) – Graciela Cerda was having a wonderful summer day a couple weeks ago, sharing lunch with her daughter at a little Cuban restaurant in Maywood. One moment she was enjoying conversation with her daughter, the next moment she had a blank stare, was unable to speak, follow command or move her right arm and leg. Ms. Cerda was experiencing a stroke.

Thankfully, she was just a mere two blocks from Westlake Hospital – a Primary Stroke Center. Maywood Fire Department was called and brought her to Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park within 10 minutes of Graciela’s first symptom. She was brought to Westlake because the EMTs knew that the hospital was recently awarded Advanced Disease-Specific Certification as a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission.

The hospital’s neurologist was on-site and suggested administering tPA based on the patient’s CatScan and lab results as well as strict tPA guidelines. tPA (Alteplase) is a clot-busting drug that can be administered under certain circumstances, the most important being a small time window from the moment the person first exhibits signs of a stroke. Within 70 minutes of her first symptom at the restaurant, Mrs. Cerda was assessed by Emergency Department physicians trained to identify and treat strokes and given the drug that would save her life.

“When she first came through ER doors, Mrs. Cerda was unable to speak and the family gathered in the waiting room thought they were there to say their goodbyes,” said Andrea Saviozzi, R.N., Manager, Emergency Department. “However, within two hours of her arrival, Mrs. Cerda was saying the ABCs and counting to 100 in English and Spanish, moving her right side and able to follow command. It was wonderful to see the hope in not only her eyes, but in the eyes of each member of her family.”

After a short three day stay in the ICU, Mrs. Cerda was transferred to the designated neuro/stroke unit, staffed with nurses and physicians who are specially trained to treat stroke patients. By then he was already walking and could actually walk down the hall within 24 hours of being on that unit. By then she already knew she believed in miracles and thought that she was in the right place at the right time, so that her life could be saved by the medical professionals at Westlake Hospital.

Due to the organized medical and emotional care Mrs. Cerda received at Westlake Hospital, she was apprehensive to leave the place she believed “saved her life.” However, she was transferred to a facility in Elmhurst where her daughter works.

“The care my mom received was the bomb,” stated Gloria Bulava, Garciella’s daughter. “But the respect and emotional care we received means the world to us. I can remember hugging my sister in the elevator thinking we were going to lose our mother. A nurse, who had no idea why we were there and who probably had a million other things on her mind, took the time to apologize for interrupting our private moment, patted us on the shoulder and told us that everything would be okay and that we were in good hands. He was right. We were in the place God wanted my Mom to be. He wanted us here at Westlake.”

Despite having a stroke, Mrs. Cerda is on her way to recovery and looking forward to moving on with her life after she leaving the rehabilitation facility in mid-July. She is almost completely self-sufficient; a mere two weeks after having what could have been a life-ending stroke.

All seven of the Resurrection Health Care acute hospitals are certified by The Joint Commission as certified Primary Stroke Centers. Now, a patient anywhere in the Chicagoland area can present to a Resurrection Health Care hospital and be assessed and treated efficiently and effectively – with the same proven, evidenced-based medical practices in stroke care.


Resurrection Health Care is a family of health care services providing advanced medical care and exceptional customer service with compassion and hope. Our hospitals, nursing homes, retirement communities, home health services, behavioral health programs and other services are conveniently located in many Chicagoland neighborhoods.

Resurrection Health Care is a not-for-profit Catholic organization sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth and the Sisters of the Resurrection.


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