Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | May 24, 2021

Duke Nurse’s Quick Action Gets Stroke Patient Critical Care

Elbert Tharrington and Duke Health Heritage Cardiology Nurse Kandy Haggerty

When Elbert Tharrington experienced the symptoms of stroke, he received the care he needed fast thanks to the quick action of a Duke Health Heritage Cardiology nurse.

Tharrington, who lives in Rocky Mount, said he was not feeling right one afternoon in February.

“I was very confused, kind of staggering around and bumping into things,” said the 55-year-old Tharrington. “I reached out to my doctor’s office to let them know, unlocked the front door and went to sit in my recliner.”

His phone call ended up with Kandy Haggerty, a triage nurse at Duke Health Heritage Cardiology.

“His speech was deliberate,” Haggerty said, “so I asked another nurse in the office to call 911 and let me tell dispatch on the phone what Mr. Tharrington was experiencing because time was most important.”

EMS arrived at Tharrington’s home quickly. He received a clot-removing stroke treatment, as Haggerty reached out to Harrington’s family to let them know he was on the way to the hospital.

The quick course of action by Tharrington and Haggerty allowed Tharrington to make a strong recovery. Within weeks, he was back at his regular appointments at Duke Health Heritage Cardiology where Haggerty was waiting to greet him.

“He walked in with no cane, he drove himself, his speech was perfect,” Haggerty said. “It was great to see.”

“It felt good to say thank you for being there for me,” Tharrington said of that first visit back in the office. “That’s the kind of nursing team you want.”

Tharrington says he learned the signs of a stroke a few years ago. Now, he keeps ‘BEFAST’ reminders around his home and at work.

“It helps me remember to think about my face, my arm or foot tingling and going numb, or if I start slurring my speech or become uncoordinated, to call someone because time matters,” Tharrington said.


  1. Kandy is wonderful. She helped me by recognizing that I had symptoms of a heart blockage and pushed me to get treated as soon as possible. I had to have a stent for a 99% blockage. God bless her!!

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