Sunday, November 26, 2006


Having a stroke? Why you need a local hospital

Are you afraid of having a stroke (or heart attack) sometime in the future? Silly question, of course. No one plans these things. But just think about it for the moment, particularly if you live on the North Shore or in an area served by Kahuku Hospital. Imagine that the hospital was no longer there to take care of you.

So ok, here comes the unexpected, and what will happen to you (or your parents, grandparents or neighbors)?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Among survivors, stroke can cause significant disability including paralysis as well as speech and emotional problems. New treatments are available that can reduce the damage caused by a stroke for some victims. But these treatments need to be given soon after the symptoms start.

Knowing the symptoms of stroke, calling 911 right away, and getting to a hospital are crucial to the most beneficial outcomes after having a stroke.
Most of the time there is a quick reaction to symptoms of a heart attack. People know what chest pain, shortness of breath, or shooting pains in the arms, chest or back could mean. But with stroke, it may be some time before that crucial call to 9-1-1 is made. The victim may not be aware of slurred speech, fuzzy thinking, or problems with arms or legs.

So often some time goes by before that call for help. It is essential that no further time be lost, because a stroke victim must be evaluated to see if it is appropriate for them to receive TPA, a medication that reduces the effects of some types of stroke. Imaging may be necessary to distinguish a stroke from other problems.

So just think of that ambulance stuck in traffic on its way to a distant hospital, which is possibly already overloaded.

Just imagine what it would mean if Kahuku Hospital did close. Then do what you can to prevent that from happening.


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