Stroke team helps cruise casualty
10 October 2013
A Canadian man received lifesaving stroke treatment at Southend University Hospital after being airlifted from a cruise ship in the English Channel.
Gerry and Hazel Vanslyke had just set sail from Southampton and
were heading for Belgium, their first stop on a European cruise
when disaster struck.
Gerry had a stroke and was airlifted to Southend by air
ambulance to be treated in the hospital's renowned stroke unit.
He arrived at the hospital in time to have vital thrombolysing
(clot-busting) drugs that must be administered within a critical
time frame of the first symptoms.
Meanwhile, the cruise ship made an unscheduled docking in Dover
so Hazel could leave the ship and join him at his bedside.
She took a taxi all the way from Dover to Southend. The driver
even let her off the fare when he realised she had no cash.
Ward nurse, Fiona Golding helped Hazel by ensuring she had hotel
accommodation while Gerry was in hospital.
He has now been discharged from Southend Hospital and is doing
extremely well. Consultant Dr Devesh Sinha who treated Gerry said:
"We are very grateful to the air ambulance which transferred Mr
Vanslyke so rapidly to Southend. His swift transfer enabled him to
receive emergency treatment. He is now making a rapid recovery.
"The ambulance crews - whether air or road - are very important
members of our stroke team. We have been working with them to
innovatively improve communication whilst they are en route to
hospital. This means emergency investigations and stroke treatment
can be given even more rapidly and improve outcomes for
Hazel, who emigrated to Canada from Colchester in the 1960s, is
a retired nurse and could not fault the treatment her husband
received at Southend University Hospital. She said: "The care has
been great and everyone has been so helpful."
• Facial weakness
• Arm or leg weakness
• Speech problems
• Time to call 999