New emergency stroke service for Portiuncula - Naughten

Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, is about to get a new 24/7 emergency stroke service which will save local lives, according to Deputy Denis Naughten.

Portiuncula has taken delivery of a new telemedicine stroke machine, which Deputy Naughten says will ensure the hospital has one of the best possible emergency stroke services in the world.

The new Teledoc (TRASNA ) stroke machine is one of seven which until recently were in storage in Cork waiting to be rolled out to hospitals throughout the country.

“The importance of this machine to the hospital cannot be underestimated, particularly since the loss of our stroke consultant at the hospital in March 2013. Since then the hospital has unsuccessfully tried to recruit a new consultant. The lack of such a service in Portiuncula means that someone diagnosed with a stroke within four hours of its onset must be transferred to Galway, 40 minutes more away,” said Deputy Naughten.

“For every minute that treatment is delayed, a victim loses two million brain cells. This results in local patients losing 80 million brain cells while they travel in the ambulance between Ballinasloe and Galway and then spending longer in hospital. They are also more likely to require long-term nursing home care.”

He says the next step is to link the machine up with Galway University Hospital’s stroke team and, in tandem with that, train the staff in Portiuncula to administer the thrombolysis treatment after diagnosis.

“Not only does the installation of this state-of-the-art machine allow for the development of a 24/7 emergency stroke thrombolysis service but in the UK the hospitals have expanded the use of these machines to fast-track treatment for burns, orthopaedics, and neurology patients,” concluded Deputy Naughten.

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