Health & Wellness

Recognizing Early Signs of Stroke Saves Lives; Kirshner Achieves Full Recovery Thanks to Overlook Medical Center's Professional Team

Ruth Kirshner tells her story of her full recovery to radio personality Steve Pelletier of WMTR 1250 AM Classic Oldies live at Overlook Medical Center. Credits: Bobbie Peer
Credits: Bobbie Peer
Stroke victim Ruth Kirshner with Eileen Weiss of Overlook Foundation. Credits: Bobbie Peer
Radio personality Mark Mitchel airs live at Overlook Medical Center for Nurses Week. Credits: Bobbie Peer

SUMMIT, NJ -  Radio personalities Mark Mitchell and Steve Pelletier of WMTR 1250 AM Classic Oldies aired live from various area hospitals including Overlook Medical Center in Summit to honor the incredible work of nurses for a special Nurses Week series as well as bring awareness to American Stroke Month.

On Thursday, Pelletier interviewed stroke victim Ruth Kirshner, who achieved a full recovery, thanks to the "aggressive" action by an Overlook Medical Center team of doctors and professional staff. Kirshner, a Millburn resident who is married with two children, suffered a stroke while in a barre class last year at the age of 49.

Kirshner described the morning of her stroke as "a typical day." She drove her daughter to school and headed to the gym for her barre class. Forty-five minutes into the class, while working a challenging plank, she felt overheated and chose to sit it out and drink some water.  Her instructor noticed her sitting out and checked on her. --  Kirshner was showing signs of stroke with weakness on the left side, her face was drooping and her gaze was uneven. This triggered the instructor to call for medical help.

Sign Up for E-News

Although Kirshner had told her instructor and classmates she was fine, the instructor's quick action could have been the difference with her full recovery. The rescue squad arrived and provided additional testing and she was taken quickly to Overlook Medical Center ER.

When it comes to spotting stroke and getting help, the faster, the better, according to the Stroke Association website. "That's because prompt treatment may make the difference between life and death — or the difference between a full recovery and long-term disability."  

Because of Kirshner's young age, the ER team's plan was aggressive, she said. Gary Belt, MD, Stroke Neurologist at Overlook Medical Center’s Comprehensive Stroke Center was first on the scene with the stroke team when Kirshner arrived in the ER.  He administered the clot-busting drug tPA.

Many people miss this key brain-saving treatment because they don't arrive at the hospital in time for alteplase treatment, which is why it's so important to identify a stroke and seek treatment immediately for the best possible chance at a full recovery, said Stroke Association website.

Dr. Belt ultimately determined that Kirshner needed further intervention to remove the clot and called in Dr. Ronald Benitez, MD, Chief of Endovascular Neurosurgery to perform a Thrombectomy, which "snakes a catheter" through the groin up the femoral artery past the heart into her brain. The microscopic grabber at the end of the devise removed the blood clot. After this procedure, Kirshner immediately got her feeling and movement back.  

"I am eternally grateful to the staff here at Overlook Medical Center and the nursing staff in particular," said Kirshner. "I made such an incredibly full recovery and I am back to all activities from before."

Kirschner did not have the typical risk factors for stroke. She did not have heart disease, high blood pressure, history of stroke, or diabetes -- she is not a smoker and she eats a vegetarian diet. She said the only potential risk factor is that she was still taking birth control pills at the age of 49. "I would encourage people to have those conversations with your doctors and have routine exams," she said. "At the end of the day, you have to live your life and continue to try and do the right things and eat well, exercise."

She was assured by the doctors that it was a coincidence the stroke occurred while exercising. A personal triumph to her recovery was getting back to the barre class. She is not going to live her life in fear. 

About Overlook Foundation's Gift of Gratitude Program: The Gift of Gratitude Program through the Overlook Foundation enables patients and their caregivers to come together in an award ceremony, said Eileen Weiss, Director, Donor Engagement. "The caregiver wears a pin that they wear very proudly," she said. The program serves as philanthropic, as well as a cycle of healing for the patients. "It is a way of saying thank you to those that have gone above and beyond. Our nursing staff -- it's the whole family that is taken care of by the nurses and we thank our nurses for doing that," said Weiss.

Kirshner recently was reminded of all the people who were involved in her care when she coincidentally ran into an ER technician who recognized Kirshner during her first ice skating session since her stroke. She was thrilled to see my recovery, said Kirshner. "This made me realize that people who were involved in my care didn't necessarily know what happened to me," said Kirshner. "The Gift of Gratitude was a great way of letting them know that what they do has an impact on people."

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Berkeley Heights’ Women of the Week (WoW) Series features Beth Ferris Sale

March 18, 2018

In honor of the women who are driving change, blazing trails and nurturing society, the Berkeley Heights Diversity Council is pleased to announce an exciting initiative called, Women of the Week (WoW) Series. In the spirit of community, we wanted to honor the women right here in Berkeley Heights who are impacting the world in their own way for the remaining weeks of Women’s History ...

91 Young Musicians Work Together To Raise Nearly $14,000 for the New Jersey Youth Symphony

March 20, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ —91 young musicians in the New Jersey Youth Symphony’s Youth Orchestra (YO) ensemble have raised nearly $14,000 to date for the organization’s annual Playathon, a student-led fundraiser established by the New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS) in 1985. The Playathon is the largest free concert of its kind and this Sunday over 450 students from 12 NJYS ensembles ...

UC Tech Student Volunteers Put Fun and Games to Work for Special Needs Learners

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Earlier this month, a group of 51 students in grades 9 to 11 from the Teacher Education Academy at UC TECH staged an indoor carnival for special needs learners. More than 140 participants from the community attended the event and enjoyed plinko, corn hole, dance revolution, hula hoop activities, a DJ, prizes and more.

UC TECH is part of the Union County ...

Soprano Anita Lyons Featured Soloist at Summit Symphony Concert March 25

The music of Grieg, Schumann ad Strauss will form the centerpiece of the next Summit Symphony Orchestra concert of the 2017-18 season, a performance which will take place March 25, beginning at 2 p.m., in the Summit High School Auditorium. Admission to all Summit Symphony concerts is free, with donations gratefully accepted. 

American Soprano Anita Lyons will ...

Host the Ultimate Party -- Extreme Foot Dart at the YMCA

Host the coolest, most unusual party EVER where kids will have a blast running and kicking balls around a gym trying to hit a ginormous inflatable target.   A variety of games and activities will be sure to keep your guests engaged and having fun followed by 45 minutes in our private party room.

 Party Times: April - October
Saturdays: 3:30pm-5:00pm

Members / ...

NPHS Student's Response to After School Walk-out Plan at NPHS

March 14, 2018

A group of students file into a science classroom amid a nervous din of chatter, the air is electric with excitement and nervousness. This small group of approximately 30 students are a studious bunch, largely members of the sophomore class with squeaky clean administrative histories. They are currently preparing to defy authority and stand up for what they believe in, even though they had been ...

New Providence's Allen W. Roberts School Gets Security Walk Through by Police Department after Bomb Threat

March 12, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The New Providence Police Department sent a letter to parents and guardians of students at Allen W. Roberts Elementary School after a non-specific bomb threat was reported on Monday afternoon.

It's the second threat  reported at a New Providence school in March. The first threat was reported on March 5th at New Providence High School.

Emergency ...

Hillsborough: Suspended HS Athletic Director Charged with Theft

March 20, 2018

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Suspended Hillsborough High School Athletic Director Michael Fanizzi has been arrested and charged with the theft of $10,704 in athletic event receipts over a four-year period from 2013-2017, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.

Fanizzi, 53, a resident of Conover Way in Hillsborough who had been athletics director for 14 years,, had been suspended ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, March 20, 7:30 PM

Mountain Park School, Berkeley Heights

Boy Scout Open House - Troop 368

Education Giving Back

Wed, March 21, 5:30 PM

Great Swamp Watershed Association, Morristown

Coffee & Tea Tasting - FREE GSWA Event

Arts & Entertainment Education Food & Drink

Wed, March 21, 7:00 PM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

increase your networking and interviewing iq

Business & Finance Other

Thu, March 22, 7:00 PM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

The Long march home: An American Soldier's Life ...

Education Other


Fri, March 23, 9:30 AM

Dunkin Donuts, Berkeley Heights

Let’s Meet Up to Clean Up! BH Walks, a New ...


JCP&L Representative Describes Utility’s Actions During Storm Quinn, Answers Residents' Questions

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – The format of this week’s  Berkeley Heights 'Here and Now' was turned on its head this week. Mayor Bob Woodruff reviewed what happened in the township following Storm Quinn and its predecessor Storm Riley, complete with statistics. He then asked a representative of JCP&L questions about the utility’s response, and how it was ...

Berkeley Heights, Here and Now: Redevelopment Updates

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Mayor's Round Table has been rebranded to "Berkeley Heights, Here and Now." This new format will continue to provide updates from Mayor Bob Woodruff, municipal offices and the Communications Committee want to hear from citizens, businesses and community organizations.

Included in this episode, Mayor Bob Woodruff addresses the status of the ...

Dear Susan: Beauty Tips from a Beauty Expert, Spring Edition

SUSAN BARBAGLIA, owner of Skin Deep Salon and Spa in New Providence, offers a wealth of knowledge and expertise as a leader in the beauty industry. With over thirty years experience in skin care, Susan can answer your most challenging beauty questions. Email your ...

You Want a Check for How Much!

 My first admissions gig was working for a small liberal arts college with a pretty hefty price tag.  Picture me at a college fair: name tag in place, pile of brochures ready to go.  An eager family would walk up and we’d start a conversation.  One of the first questions I’d get from parents was about cost and the moment that $50,000-plus figure left my mouth I ...

Now That The Dust Has Settled…Smart Tax Moves In 2018

Now that the dust has settled, here are some smart tax moves to lower your taxes and/or avoid higher taxes/penalties in 2018. These steps may be especially helpful if you live in high property and high income tax states (e.g. New Jersey, New York, California) since state and local tax deductions are capped.  Unfortunately all these changes mean you’ll need more time and energy to ...