‘Miracle treatment’ should be available to everyone

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AN Islander has praised the medical treatment she received after suffering a stroke, including an emergency procedure that she says saved her life.

Having made a full recovery since her stroke in May, Julie Dryburgh is telling her story and working with the Stroke Association to raise awareness of the treatment available.

The 52-year-old, who works as an office manager, spiritual healer and psychic medium, was air-lifted from Jersey to Southampton General Hospital for a thrombectomy, a surgical procedure used to remove blood clots from arteries and veins.

Two blood clots resulting from a fall and knock to the head led to the stroke the following day, after which Ms Dryburgh was rushed to the Emergency Department at Jersey General Hospital.

Following scans and assessment by medics in Jersey, led by Dr Kirstie Ross, it was recommended that the thrombectomy be carried out as soon as possible, with an air transfer arranged.

‘Because I was young, fit and healthy they highly recommend that I be sent immediately to Southampton,’ she said. ‘I would not be here to tell this story had I not had the thrombectomy, it’s as simple as that.’

She added: ‘Everybody from the paramedics to the hospital staff, they all helped save my life, especially Dr Kirstie. I can’t thank her enough – her knowing that I was an ideal candidate for the thrombectomy and sending me to Southampton saved my life.’

Carried out by trained medical teams using specialist equipment, thrombectomies involve the insertion of a catheter into the patient’s groin, guiding it up through an artery to the brain and then pulling the clot out.

The Stroke Association estimates that around 100 Islanders suffer strokes every year, but said that few victims were able to benefit from the procedure because of the need to travel away from the Island to a specialist facility within a maximum ‘window’ of 24 hours.

Jacqui Cuthbert, the association’s associate director for the South West and the Channel Islands, said: ‘Thrombectomy is a miracle treatment that pulls patients back from near-death and alleviates the worst effects of stroke. It’s shocking that patients are missing out and being saddled with unnecessary disability.

‘A relatively small investment could save the government a much larger amount in health and care services and there would be the life-changing benefits to stroke patients.’

Ms Dryburgh added: ‘Everybody deserves the right to have the best form of care, it’s a no-brainer for me.

‘If people are right for the procedure and get it then they won’t need long-term care, so they are saving money – it’s a win-win situation.’

The Stroke Association supports stroke survivors, their families and carers.

– More details are available at stroke.org.uk/finding-support/support-services/jersey-stroke-recovery-service or by calling 07829 845086. 

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