Drama over, stroke patient praises hospital care

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Back on top of things: Bill Ryan reflects on what might have been if not for emergency medical help.

Back on top of things: Bill Ryan reflects on what might have been if not for emergency medical help.

WITH two weeks to go to retirement, Frankston resident Bill Ryan was enjoying a morning cup of tea in bed when he got up to get dressed but knew something wasn’t right.

“I walked into the wardrobe to retrieve some clothing,” he said.

“Initially I couldn’t see what I was looking for and then when I found it, I couldn’t hold onto it.”

Mr Ryan’s wife, who was in the room, quickly called an ambulance.

“The ambos turned up and they asked me to repeat the phrase to them, ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks’. It was like when you’ve seen a movie and people ask what the name of it was and sometimes it’s just not there,” he said.

“For the life of me, I could not say that simple phrase.”

Though he didn’t know it at the time, Mr Ryan was having a stroke.

He was quickly taken to Frankston Hospital’s emergency department for a brain CT followed by a CT angiogram.

“I came out from the scan and they were confident it was a clot so they decided to give me the clot breaker,” Mr Ryan said.

Patients can only be given the clot breaker within four-and-a-half hours of having a stroke, according to Peninsula Health stroke nurse coordinator Margaret Stevenson.

“It works to save any viable tissue to prevent brain cell death,” she said. “Every minute we wait getting emergency treatment after a stroke, 1.9 million neurons are lost.

“However, if we can thrombolyse patients [by administering the clot breaker] then we can potentially limit the damage.”

Mr Ryan was thrombolysed two hours after having the stroke. He steadily improved after that and got feeling back in his right hand which had gone numb. He was well enough to be discharged the next day.

“As far as I know I’ve made a full recovery thanks to prompt identification and actions.”

Now Mr Ryan is back enjoying his retirement again.

He praised the team at Frankston Hospital – from the emergency department to the night-shift nurses.

“The care was first-class. I couldn’t have wished for better.”

This Christmas, Peninsula Health is raising money for its Frankston and Rosebud hospitals to ensure it is well-equipped and ready to help when residents need urgent medical care.

As Margaret said, every second counts when it comes to treating a stroke and saving your brain.

“We have a great facility here in Frankston and it needs the support of the local people,” Mr Ryan said.

“Get behind the hospital that will get behind you.”

Those wanting to help the hospital can donate online at peninsulahealth.org.au/donate or by calling 9785 1284.

First published in the Frankston Times – 5 December 2016

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