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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 December 2007, 03:18 GMT
'Quick scan could have been vital'
Susie and John Honour
John has taught himself to speak again
The Department of Health is due to launch a new strategy to improve care of stroke patients in England.

Susie Honour believes that if her husband John had received speedier treatment following a mini-stroke he may have avoided the massive follow-up stroke that has left him seriously disabled.

John had just got in from work when Susie asked him to do something. He answered with a garbled response.

Susie did not have a clue what was wrong, but called a doctor straight away.

All the plans we had made for our retirement - travelling to see friends in Japan and Australia - they just won't happen now
Susie Honour

John had suffered a mini-stroke - and had a second attack when the doctor arrived.

When John arrived at hospital he was seen by a doctor, but suffered two more mini-strokes and then a massive stroke during a four-five-hour wait in casualty.

Susie said: "If they had given him a scan when he first arrived and seen that the carotid artery was blocking and unblocking he could have been given clot-busting drugs, and the severe stroke that he suffered just before midnight may never have happened."

Scan department closed

However, the scanning department was not open in the evening.

Susie said she would like to see scanning departments staffed round the clock, so that patients can be fully assessed and, if necessary, treated immediately to minimise damage.

Susie and John Honour
John is unable to walk
"The cost of keeping somebody like John in this disabled state is astronomical, it is a scandalous amount of money, and I feel it is a waste of money.

"If he had got a scan maybe he would have been back to work by now.

"The government has got to put money into hospitals for stroke care."

Susie said that in the immediate aftermath of John's stroke she was upset, angry, and disorientated.

"In the end you are totally burned out with: Where do I go? What help can I get? What is going to happen? How do we pay our mortgage? How do we live?

"Eventually you reach a plateau where you are able to cope - but it is not easy."

No speech therapy

To compound John's problems, speech therapists were in very short supply when he needed their help. Consequently, he had to teach himself to speak again.

"We were doers, but John has never worked since the day he had his stroke," said Susie.

"All the plans we had made for our retirement - travelling to see friends in Japan and Australia - they just won't happen now.

"It's lots of little things. Not being able to run around with grandchildren, that is sad."

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