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Supergran’s clot busting stroke success at 102 could be a record

26 March 2015

Health Care

Ivy Jennings, aged 102 years and eight months old from Southend, could be one of the oldest patients in the country to have been given a lifesaving drug at Southend Hospital to beat stroke.

From door to needle - that's from Ivy's stroke being reported at home, to her being brought in, having a brain scan, having her case reviewed and having her life-saving intravenous (IV) drug administered - Mrs Jennings' journey just took 35 minutes.

Fast acting staff at the hospital were obviously a major factor in Ivy's successful recovery but Dr Anwer Siddiqui, her consultant, is adamant that it is a team effort that also includes Ivy herself and her family.

He said: "There is far more awareness now with the public and stroke and crucially the family spotted the signs of the face dropping and loss of movement down one side, if they had not acted fast then it may have been a very different story.

"We have to save the brain and in a stroke every second counts, once the damage is done it cannot be reversed. Think of it like someone shooting a bullet to the brain, with the IV drug we got to that bullet and destroyed it before it impacted the brain."

After having the IV drug, or being thrombolysed, Ivy's arm could move again, waving to Dr Siddiqui with the arm that minutes earlier had been inactive. Dr Siddiqui said that it was Ivy who did all the hard work when she was given the IV clot busting drug.

He said: "She is a fighter and in great health and fitness and not just for someone of her age. That, along with our rapid response and care is what helped give her a real fighting chance at recovery.

"Ivy is a true inspiration and shows that it is not your age that matters, but the person. You are never too old, instead it is about the general health of that person you are seeing no matter their age."

And although Ivy was seen incredibly fast the hope is in future it will be even faster with Southend Hospital set to become Essex's first Hyper Acute Stroke Unit. With a million pound investment, more staff and facilities able to offer an even more dedicated service, it will mean an even quicker time of around 20 minutes from door to needle.

Representing the family, her granddaughter, Lara Basnett, said: "The treatment and care our nan and mum received was amazing. When nan had the stroke she was hunched and virtually paralysed down one side and couldn't communicate. Within half an hour of receiving the clot-busting drug, nan was lifting up her right arm and smiling - she was back with us."

The final word though should go to Ivy herself, who added "The staff were all very nice and good to me. I'm very grateful to them."