Warragul’s Angela Evison knows the importance of acting fast if you think someone is having a stroke.She owes her life to her three year old grandson who raised the alarm after she collapsed in the garden and was rushed to the Emergency Department at West Gippsland Healthcare Group.
“I was washing the car with my grandson and the next thing I was on the ground and I just couldn’t get up. I don’t remember much after that.”
Lucky for Angela, her mobile phone rang and her grandson answered it saying that Nana was asleep in the garden. She was rushed to West Gippsland hospital which has been part of the Victorian Stroke Telemedicine program (VST) run by the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health for the past 12 months.
Telemedicine, a specialised, secure form of video conferencing, allows medical staff and patients in West Gippsland hospital’s Emergency Department to immediately connect with neurologists in Melbourne anytime of the day or night to fast track diagnosis and get the best treatment for each patient.
Victorian Stroke Telemedicine Site Coordinator, Ashley Murray said time is critical when it comes to stroke.
“There is a short window of 4 and half hours that a patient having a stroke can receive the life-saving clot busting drug and within 6 hours to receive clot removal surgery from the brain. This is why it’s critical that people act fast and get to hospital as soon as they can. When you have a stroke, brain cells start to die at rate of almost 2 million a minute. The longer treatment is delayed, the greater chance of death or permanent damage.”
Angela Evison said she had no doubt fast action contributed to saving her life.
“I was CT scanned and diagnosed quickly at Warragul and transferred to Melbourne for clot retrieval surgery. Three months on, I’m driving again and building my confidence.”
Ashlee Murray said National Stroke Week (Sept 4-10) was an opportunity to raise awareness about the impact time has on a stroke. A speedy reaction not only influences the treatment path for a person having stroke but also their recovery.
Remembering the acronym ‘FAST’ can help people detect the signs.
Face – Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?
Arms – Can they lift both arms?
Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
Time – Time is critical. If you see any of these symptoms Act FAST and call 000
For more information on Stroke visit the Stroke Foundation: https://strokefoundation.org.au/
Photo above: WGHG Nurse Rachel Pullen, Angela Evison and Dr Malinda Weerasinghe with the Victorian Stroke Telemedicine portal in the Emergency Department at West Gippsland Hospital