Tuesday 1 September 2020
Head of Austin Health's Stroke Unit, Professor Vincent Thijs, is concerned that people are delaying treatment amid fears of catching COVID-19 in hospital.
“We know that those who come to hospital quickly, are more likely to have a better outcome. When a stroke happens, brain cells start dying at a rate of up to 1.9 million per minute. Medical intervention can stop this damage, but every minute counts," Vincent says.
“Unfortunately, we’re seeing a reduction in the number of stroke patients coming to hospital, especially when the symptoms are mild,” he says.
He explains that Austin Health are taking all precautions to keep patients and staff safe from COVID-19.
“Our hospital is a safe place. We have strict infection preventions measures in place to protect everyone from the spread of COVID-19.
“A few examples of this is the stringent and frequent cleaning, screening of patients on arrival and our whole-of-hospital use of masks. Additionally, our Emergency Department is separated for suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases and everyone else,” Vincent says.
Vincent wants everyone to know that they can be a F.A.S.T hero by simply recognising the signs of stroke:
F - has their FACE drooped?
A - can they lift both ARMS?
S -is their SPEECH slurred and do they understand you?
T - call 000, TIME is critical
He urges you to call 000 if you or someone you know is experiencing even the mildest symptoms, as it’s often a sign of a bigger stroke nearing.
“By delaying treatment for stroke, your risk of dying or becoming permanently disabled is much higher than catching COVID-19 in hospital.”
“Time is of the essence, and the quicker you get to hospital, the better your outcome.”