If ever an endorsement of Telemedicine were needed surely the recent story regarding a 56-year-old woman who was taken into the accident and emergency unit of the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton showing symptoms that she was having a stroke is exactly that.
The on-call stroke consultant was at home and would have had to travel to the Royal Sussex to assess the patient – potentially wasting vital minutes before any action could be taken.
Instead she logged onto the hospital’s pioneering Telemedicine system remotely.
It meant she was able, via a screen at the end of the patient’s bed, to see and talk to the patient and work with the senior nurse to assess her medical condition and suitability for thrombolysis.
Thrombolysis is a specialist treatment that breaks up a blood clot to minimise brain damage caused by a stroke.
The team decided this was the right course of treatment and by the next morning the patient was symptom free.
Four days later she was well enough to go home.
It is the first time staff at the hospital have used the computer and video system to care for a stroke patient.
Hospital chief executive Duncan Selbie said: “Someone having a stroke loses two million neurons a minute.
“By using Telemedicine out of hours, crucial minutes will be saved and brain tissue salvaged.
“This is because assessment will no longer have to wait while the on-call consultant travels to the hospital and treatment can start much sooner.”
Julia Carter, 45, from Hove, whose father was left paralysed by a stroke three years ago, said the technology was a great idea.
She said: “Every second counts when it comes to a stroke so something like this will really help.
“I know from experience how devastating the effects of a stroke can be so anything that can reduce that impact is very important.”
Strokes happen to people of all ages, from babies and young children to adults in their more senior years.
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