Carol Cannariato

Carol Cannariato

"A Stroke Didn’t Stop Me From Getting Back to My Students.”

When Carol Cannariato was recovering from a mild flu in March 2020, the last thing she expected was a stroke. As a 59-year-old physical education teacher at Deerfield Beach Middle School, she lived an active lifestyle. 

But in the middle of the night, Carol woke up and was unable to speak or move her limbs. With the help of Fox, her five-pound dog, she alerted her roommate to call 911. Paramedics rushed her to Broward Health North’s Emergency Department where she received specialized stroke treatment. 

“When the paramedics let us know they were bringing Carol in, we were ready,” said Emergency Medicine Specialist Aleksandr Dubrovskiy, D.O., who treated Carol. “With stroke, time is brain. Not all hospitals have the capability to treat every kind of stroke – but Broward Health North does.”

For six weeks, Carol was a patient at Broward Health North’s Rehabilitation Institute. Her recovery included speech, occupational, and physical therapy. Her speech therapy, included vibration therapy, which helped her regain her swallow reflex. She also regained her ability to speak.  

As her recovery progressed, Carol was so motivated that she’d ask her rehab team for extra therapy. She worked closely with John Bell, D.O., a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist.

“Every day, Dr. Bell would say, ‘Visualize yourself walking,’” Carol said. “With God’s help, I did it. Without Broward Health, my family, friends and current and former students, I wouldn’t be here.”

After her life-changing event, Carol encourages her students and their families to take care of their bodies to prevent a potential stroke.She’s also focused on promoting stroke awareness throughout the community to save lives. 

If you suspect a stroke, dialing 911 is always the right thing to do.

“There are other disease processes that can mimic stroke, but they are difficult to diagnose at home.” Dr. Dubrovskiy said. "Paramedics can also treat major problems, such as securing a patient’s airway.”

Broward Health North