It has been in the news this weekend that Sir Alex Ferguson has suffered a stroke.
There are two main types of stroke:
- Ischaemic which occurs as a result of a blood clot that restricts or reduces the flow of blood to the brain (this is the more common); and
- Haemorrhagic stroke which is when a weakened blood vessel ruptures.
Sir Alex Ferguson is reported to have suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage which is where bleeding occurs on the surface of the brain. This is relatively rare. Statistics suggest these sorts of strokes account for approximately 1 in 20 of strokes which occur in the UK every year.
100,000 strokes are reported to occur in the UK every year.
We have all seen the TV ads and hopefully we know how to spot the signs of some sorts of stroke.
Here’s a little reminder.
When Stroke strikes act F.A.S.T.
- F = Face. Has it fallen on one side?
- A = Arms. Can they raise them?
- S = Speech. Is it slurred?
- T = Time. If you notice any of these signs, it’s TIME to call 999.
We know that the sooner we call emergency services or access specialist medical assistance the better our chances of recovery should be.
But, what if we are not able to do that for ourselves or we are showing signs of potential risk way before the actual stroke? What if our GP has missed those signs?
And then, what happens after the stroke?
We also know that swift and specialist rehabilitation is crucial to recovery which is why the Stroke Association is calling on local health authorities to “prioritise meeting the recommended standards of rehabilitation therapy”. The association warns that, currently, stroke survivors are put at risk due to the lack of rehabilitation therapy after they leave Hospital. This can mean that they are left with long term disabilities that could have been avoided.
Guidelines published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in 2014, state that people with disability after stroke should receive rehabilitation in a specialist stroke unit under the care of a multi-disciplinary team including physiotherapists, occupational and speech therapists and clinical psychologists.
In 2016, the Royal College of Physicians went further: stroke patients with disability on being discharged from hospital should receive ‘at least 45 minutes of each appropriate therapy every day, at a frequency that enables them to meet their rehabilitation goals, and for as long as they are willing and capable of participating and showing measurable benefit’.
Yet data from the Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme report for 2016 to 2017, which covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland, found that stroke survivors ‘only receive around a third’ of what is recommended.
Melanie Lidstone-Land, Head of Medical Negligence at Swain & Co Solicitors says: “there needs to be more emphasis on spotting the warning signs and red flag symptoms in advance of some sorts of strokes occurring with better review of patient history. If the stroke occurs then it is crucial that survivors receive the best rehabilitation possible. No one expects our NHS, realistically, to provide a gold standard service but we should not accept that patients are left with physical disabilities that affect the remainder of their lives because the correct treatment was not available to them.”
Melanie Lidstone-Land and the Medical Negligence team at Swain & Co regularly win compensation for patients who have not received vital treatment and aftercare following a stroke.
She could help you, or your loved one, too. Call us today on 02392483322 or fill out the contact form and we will call you back.