"Stroke: Sun 10TH May 2015"

About: Torbay Hospital

Please excuse my ‘Uncle Tom & All’ narrative but the whole NHS team in the Torbay area, which contributed to my current minimally damaged state, must be congratulated on its outstanding performance. I specify Torbay area because local people run it and not some abstract organisation called the NHS. My stroke occurred at 2100 hrs but I failed to grasp my situation for 15mins and then fumbled around with my telephone trying to call my neighbour (I bypassed FAST & 999). My ex-NHS neighbour recognised a stroke from my call to him and quickly summoned the ambulance via 999. The ambulance crew arrived (after 10mins?), assessed the situation despite my inability to communicate, and transported me to A&EE at Torbay Hospital at around 2230hrs. I seemed as if the A&E staff where just waiting for me and I was tended to in a very professional manner; (arranging for a Sunday evening stroke seems to be a good option). After assessment, a CT scan quickly followed and I was confronted by a very serious doctor, who commenced with a range of possible options. While I could not speak my thoughts, I well understood that thrombolysis options meant clot-busting and a possibility of death. I readily chose the latter but whatever my indication was (probably rude) it elicited a big smile from both doctor and nurse, whereupon I received a fat syringe of fluid in my forearm lasting perhaps 30mins. My right leg had been without feeling but after 30-45mins it returned spreading from groin to foot, while the staff seemed to notice other small improvements. At about 0300hrs, I was eventually heading for the George Earle Ward. Moving swiftly ahead, the doctor indicated that the stroke had developed without complication and early discharge was a possibility. Prior to departure on Thu 14th May evening, the doctor explained that thrombolysis was conditional upon on ambulance, CT scan (ascertain blockage versus bleeding) and injection timing. Additionally, thrombolysis should be performed inside a 4hrs time frame but often compromised by the cumulative foregoing factors. Evidently, I had a left Middle Cerebral Artery (MCA) diffuse blockage and due to the speed and efficiency of the whole NHS team I escaped from very serious possible outcomes. I estimated stroke-thrombolysis time was 2½-3hrs. Last but not least, I have nothing but praise and admiration for the staff on the George Earle Ward in the way they treated their patients. From a limited sample of cases over my four days, I saw persistent patience, care and kindness bestowed upon them. Those qualities combined with potentially dangerous situations that the staff faced elevates them to a class above lesser mortals such as mine. It has been positively helpful to write this letter of appreciation, not all NHS organisations are excellent. Thank you and well done to the whole NHS team in the Torbay area. Phil Jilbert

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Response from Sam Holden, Patient Experience Lead, Patient Quality and Safety, South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group

picture of Sam Holden

Dear Phil,

Thank you so much for your wonderful comments, I hope that you are making a steady recovery and are not suffering too many lasting effects.

It was gratifying to read your comments and to know that all the relevant parts of the NHS ‘system’ worked well and that resulted in your having a positive experience and excellent clinician care at time when it really mattered and when it must have been extremely frightening for you.

I am pleased to see that the staff that you met were able to help you not only with clinical skills, but also with compassion, warmth and humour, all of which is important to give a good experience and to reassure a patient who is very unwell like yourself.

I will ensure that your comments are shared with the relevant teams that helped you so that they know that your experience was a good one.

Once again, thank you for your feedback and get well soon.

If you have any questions or further comments that you would like to make, you can contact Torbay Hospital’s Patient Advice and Liaison Service directly by contacting: pals.sdhc@nhs.net or by calling 0800 02 82 037.

Alternatively you can contact me directly by email to:patientfeedback.sdtccg@nhs.net or 01803 652578.

Best wishes


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Response from Torbay Hospital

We are delighted to read your encouraging comments. Staff appreciate hearing about patients’ positive experiences and your feedback will be shared with those concerned. Kind regards South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

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