mary medThis year, Thanksgiving has a different meaning for one man, who is just grateful to be alive thanks to one hospital’s top stroke center.

Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center is saving lives with its top stroke center that is one of the leading stroke programs in the country. Thanks to its program Mike Patterson, a retired county lifeguard who’ve saved countless people, reunited yesterday with the first responders and the medical team that acted quickly to save his life.

Two months ago, Mike Patterson suffered a major stroke while swimming at the Torrance Plunge. He was transported to Providence Little Compay of Mary Medical Center where doctors found him paralyzed. He was blind in an eye and unable to communicate. Within 42 minutes from arriving, Patterson was taken into surgery to remove a clot from his brain and his paralysis began to disappear.

Yesterday, Patterson returned to the hospital to thank Julie Takigawa, a surgical nurse who was also his first responder at the pool; a neurointerventionalist Jason Tarpley; and Torrance Fire Department Assistant Chief Alec Miller. 

The Providence’s stroke center can immediately mobilize when they receive a patient who has suffered from a stroke. Within 45 minutes of accepting the patient, the team can determine the type and cause. The program provides services to patients post-stroke diagnosis to give them hope to gain back their independence.

The Providence has earned the Gold Seal of approval from the joint commission as an accredited advanced primary stroke center. There are only 170 of these type of centers out of more than 6,000 hospitals in the county.

For more information on their stroke center, go to