Wednesday, 12 November 2008


Pulling up at the drive way to this £1 million+ house we both look at each other, shaking our heads thinking we are in the wrong business. To make us even more jealous there were two brand new Mercedes Benz sat on the drive. We had been called to a lady who was possibly having a stroke. The vast majority of the properties in this part of town are in excess of £500k which is surprising considering where I work.
After the 'Big Ben' style door bell stopped ringing the door opened and we were face to face with an overweight male in his fifties. 'Quick come this way' he said as he ushered us in. 'Are you all right?' I said to him, he was ever so wheezy and sounded like he was having an asthma attack, In fact I nearly gave him a nebuliser there and then on the spot. 'No I'm fine, it's my wife. Come up here, quickly please.' he replied.
It seemed to take ages to climb the enormous sweeping staircase. The patient was sat on the edge of her bed and was crying. As she looked up we could see the frustration in her eyes. It wasn't the fact that she couldn't speak it was more that what ever she said made no sense. We managed to find out that she suffered from high blood pressure and was taking tablets for it. After doing her temperature and sugar level we moved on to her BP which was 146/78, nothing remarkable there then. As she was symptomatic we popped her on some oxygen.
She still needed to go to A/E and within a few minutes we were on our way. Her husband, whose wheeze had now calmed down, came with us. The patient had been on O2 for around 5 minutes when her speech started to become clearer, it was no longer garbled. A few more minutes and it was getting better, by the time we were at A/E it was back to normal. As we unloaded her on the trolley her husband was leaping around shouting 'Hallelujah, she's cured! You boys are wonderful, you've cured her!' and he was repeating this up and down the corridor. I kept expecting James Brown to pop up and shout 'Can I get a Witness, amen'. With what we were presented with we queried a TIA (transient ischaemic attack, a sort of angina of the brain), did some obs and gave O2. That was it! But the husband thought we were miracle workers. A little while later the grateful husband came up to us and asked if we thought it was definitely a TIA but all we could say was that he should let the Drs run their tests to confirm it. He was more interested in our opinions than those of the Drs.

He was over the moon that his wife was doing well.

A TIA is sometimes called a 'mini stroke' and it is where there is a brief interruption in the blood supply or temporary blockage of a blood vessel in the brain. Patients usually recover within 24 hours but if patients have lots of these it is just a matter of time before they have a full on stroke. Patients with high blood pressure and/or an irregular heart rate (known as AF or atrial fibrillation) are particularly susceptible.

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