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Stroke team helps Joan attend her daughter’s funeral

03 May 2013

Health Care

After nursing her beloved daughter through terminal cancer, 85-year-old Joan Wood had meticulously planned the details of her funeral. But just two days before it was due to take place, Joan was in Southend University Hospital being treated for a massive stroke.

Joan became ill while cooking dinner with her sister, Betty, who was staying with her for the funeral. Luckily, Betty recognised the symptoms from a TV awareness campaign and phoned instantly for an ambulance.

Within minutes, Joan was arriving at hospital with paramedics where a team including stroke specialist Dr Thaya Loganathan and acute stroke nurse Kerry Stone was already waiting. They were on hand to give vital thrombolysing (clot-busting) drugs as Joan was progressing further in to stroke.

Consultant stroke physician, Dr Devesh Sinha, said: "A rapid scan showed a clot in the main blood vessel to the brain. She was immediately given the injection of clot-busting drugs which dissolved the clot completely.

"Normally patients having such a severe stroke would be completely paralysed on one side of the body but with treatment she was almost fully recovered by the next day."

In fact, Joan made such a good recovery that, with the help of staff nurse Michelle McColl and the team on the stroke ward, she was able to attend her daughter Fiona's funeral. Stroke support worker Julie Harman and healthcare assistant Danielle Ball organised a wheelchair, oxygen cylinder and taxi and accompanied Joan to the crematorium.

Joan, of Aylesbeare, Shoebury, who had nursed 55-year-old Fiona through the last stages of her illness, said: "The whole team was wonderful. They pulled out all the stops so I could go. Naturally that was so very important to me."

Joan's sister, Betty Drummond, from Leamington Spa, said: "We were both in the kitchen getting the dinner. When Joan turned to me I saw her face had gone entirely sideways and her speech was slurred*. It was exactly like you see on the TV. I had no doubt at all she was having a stroke.

"I have to say that the hospital was outstanding. She was desperate to go to the funeral. The crematorium was full and Joan was so grateful to be able to go and speak with all Fiona's friends."

Dr Sinha added: "Had her sister not acted so quickly in calling an ambulance, Joan would have been totally paralysed down one side for life. It has been an emotional rollercoaster for her, but she has managed to achieve what she so wanted to do."



  • Facial weakness
  • Arm or leg weakness
  • Speech problems
  • Time to call 999


With pic:stroke patient Joan Wood with stroke support worker Julie Harman and consultant Dr Devesh Sinha.