A FAMILY has spoken about the importance of acting quickly when a stroke hits, after the death of an adored family member.
After suffering a stroke and a heart attack, Tony Pritchard died aged 65.
Three years after his death, his daughter Nicky decided to get in touch with the Observer when a report highlighting patient stroke care at St Richard’s Hospital ‘struck a chord’ with the Selsey family.
She wants to highlight the importance of getting medical attention as quickly as possible when someone is having a stroke.
“There was no warning and no sounds,” said Nicky.
“He didn’t say he felt unwell. He was around here babysitting the kids.”
First responders, who Nicky’s husband Steven described as ‘wonderful’, came to the house in Beach Road, Selsey, before the ambulance arrived.
Nicky, who lives with her family in Beach Road, went with her father in the ambulance to St Richard’s Hospital.
“I had no idea what to expect, or what was happening,” she said.
“Until something like this directly affects you – you just don’t think.”
As reported on March 20, data recorded in 2013 shows St Richard’s was ‘below the national average’ for patients scanned within one hour.
However, a spokesman for Western Sussex Hospitals trust said the recently published data was ‘pilot data’ and, according to it, 80 per cent of all trust were in the bottom D or E categories.
The report also takes no account of patients lifestyles or ages – in West Sussex 50 per cent of stroke patients are aged 80 or over, compared to 38 per cent nationally, which impacts on treatments given and how effective they are.
Nicky said she wished her father, who was described as a ‘unique character’, had been scanned more quickly.
“The nurses were lovely, but because it was the weekend, he wasn’t being seen,” she said.
“He hadn’t had the scan – and therefore the medication to help him.”
Now, the family have shared their experience in a bid to make sure others know the importance of getting help quickly for stroke victims.
Nicky and Steven said they wished they had known more about the signs of a stroke when Tony fell ill.
“Even if the outcome was the same, we feel we have been robbed of that chance,” said Nicky. “He might have had an extra few years.”
For more information on stroke symptoms and how to act visit www.stroke.org.uk.