AN Invercargill doctor is concerned many Southlanders experiencing stroke symptoms are not getting medical treatment fast enough due to a reluctance to immediately head to the hospital.
Southland Hospital clinical director of medicine Dr Prosen Ghosh was urging people in the south to push aside their typical stoicism for the sake of their health.
“Southlanders are inherently stoic but a stroke is a medical emergency requiring rapid treatment. Knowing the signs and seeking help earlier rather than later leads to better health outcomes and reduces the risk of ongoing disability,” he said.
Dr Ghosh’s call comes at the same time as the Ministry of Health, the Stroke Foundation New Zealand and Te Hiringa Hauora run the 2020 national FAST campaign, to teach New Zealanders the signs of stroke.
“Southlanders often wait to see if their symptoms will subside with time, but with a stroke this is not a good thing. If you experience any of the FAST symptoms, don’t call your GP, call an ambulance immediately. The quicker you get to hospital the better the outcome is likely to be. Time is of the essence here,” Dr Ghosh said.
Getting to hospital as soon as possible enabled the community to take advantage of new stroke therapies available including thrombolysis and clot retrieval, he said.
“Pateints may have one or both of these therapies. Ideally, doctors would like to see patients at Southland Hospital within the first hour of experiencing symptoms, so they can begin treatment as soon as possible.
“I would like Southlanders to recognise the FAST symptoms, and when someone is experiencing these, to get to hospital as quickly as possible. The faster you present for treatment, the less likely you are to have ongoing disability from the stroke,” he said.
Know the signs of stroke, think FAST:
F — Face: is their face drooping on one side?
A — Arm: is one arm weak?
S — Speech: is their speech mixed up, slurred or
T — Take action: call 111 immediately if you see
any signs of a stroke.