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Teamwork saves stroke victim

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Teamwork saves stroke victim

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Published: 2/25/2013 9:26 PM by  PRHC

The morning of November 3, 2012 began like any other for 69 year old Brian Hough. But when he became unsteady, fell and “something just wasn’t right”, his wife, Joanne, did the right thing and called 911.

“From the moment the paramedics arrived, I knew Brian was in skilled and caring hands. They were focused on Brian’s treatment but also took the time to ensure I was doing OK,” said Joanne.

That call, and the speed with which the paramedics were able to follow the stroke protocol established between Ross Memorial Hospital and the Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) Stroke Unit, saved his life.

“Our paramedics arrived within two minutes of the call. Upon assessment, the paramedics found Mr. Hough to have slurred speech with weakness on the left side of his body. These skilled paramedics started to treat Brian for suspicion of stroke,” said Kawartha Lakes Emergency Medical Service (EMS) Chief Keith Kirkpatrick. Treatment included primary and secondary assessment, oxygen, monitoring of vital signs and establishment of an intravenous line.

Following protocol, Mr. Hough was transported to the PRHC Emergency Department where he had a CT scan, and was assessed by the Telestroke Neurologist for t-PA, and received the “clot-busting” medication. While in the specialized stroke unit, follow-up testing revealed arterial blockages in Brian’s neck requiring surgery by PRHC’s regional vascular team.

Jennifer White with PRHC’s stroke program put it this way: “With a stroke – time is brain. Great teamwork can mean the difference between living or dying, full recovery or permanent disability. The system and people – from the paramedics in the field, to the district stroke centre – everyone worked seamlessly to ensure Brian went home to Joanne.”

Fortunately, Brian was well enough to go home without being repatriated to Ross Memorial Hospital for inpatient rehabilitation therapy, although that is typical for local stroke patients.

“Patients such as Brian deserve the very best stroke care, from start to finish,” said Jodi Dunn, Director of Continuing Care at RMH. “We work together with our EMS and other hospital partners to ensure patients have timely access to the appropriate stroke care. Patients sent to PRHC for treatment with t-PA are repatriated to the Ross for their rehabilitation. Here, they receive a full range of therapy and resources, including the Outpatient Rehab Follow-up Clinic for Stroke. Our focus is on the patients’ smooth transition home.”

“I am extremely grateful for the prompt, efficient and compassionate care I received from the paramedics, the hospital personnel and especially my family,” said Mr. Hough. “Not only did you save my life but you also helped to preserve my quality of life. Many, many thanks.”

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For further information, please contact:

Keith Kirkpatrick, Chief
Kawartha Lakes EMS
705-324-5731 ext. 593

Kim Coulter, RMH

Arnel Schiratti, PRHC


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