A Southend man whose life was saved by the swift action of the expert stroke team at Southend Hospital, has been back to thank the surgeons and wish them a Happy Christmas.
Trevor Morgan was relaxing at home with his family, enjoying a good Cabernet Sauvignon. He recalls what happened next: “Suddenly the glass slipped out of my hand and I told my wife that it felt numb. My son came into the living room and noticed that one of my pupil’s was bigger than the other.”
An ambulance was called and arrived within five minutes, which took him to A & E at Southend Hospital. The initial diagnosis of the doctor in A & E was that Trevor had experienced a mild stroke. A subsequent MRI scan revealed that the 54-year old Marketing Director had actually had a series of multiple strokes that had affected him at once, “in a split second” as he put it. “My brain was shielded (from further damage) by the red wine. Well, that’s my excuse!” he joked.
A CAT scan then revealed that Trevor’s right hand artery was 75% blocked. It was at this point that Dr Paul Guyler explained the two options he faced; walk out of the hospital and face a 50/50 chance of suffering a major stroke in the next twelve months or have an operation, with a 96% likelihood of success.
This conversation took place on Monday and by Friday Trevor was back in hospital, ready for his operation. “They reassured me that I was in the best hospital in the UK for stroke care and I certainly was. In fact, a Google search told me that I was probably in the best place in the world,” he asserted.
Within two days of the procedure, Trevor was back at home with his family. He was back at his desk at Eclipse Flags a week after leaving the hospital and a just a fortnight after his operation, having been advised by Dr Guyler that flying would not affect his recovery, Trevor and his wife enjoyed a holiday in Benidorm.
“Almost immediately after the operation I felt like a new person and I still do now,” he says. “I’ve not had to make any really changes in my lifestyle, apart from giving up smoking. Dr Guyler asked me to stop smoking and I gave him the packet of cigarettes from my pocket and I’ve not touched one since.”
One thing that has changed though, is Mr Morgan’s approach to life. “I felt like my body had given me a warning shock. Thanks to the work of Dr Guyler and his team, I have a second chance and want to pack as much into life as I can.”
Now he is back home in Kursaal Way, Southend, and really looking forward to the festivities: “The care I received was exemplary. The way I was kept informed was amazing. There’s not a single complaint I could make about any one member of the staff. Now I can look forward to spending time with my wife, sevens kids and grandchildren. It will be a very special time for me and I owe that to Dr Guyler, Mr James Brown and all the staff who cared for me at Southend Hospital.”
Mr Matthew Jakeways, consultant vascular surgeon said: “A proportion of strokes and mini strokes are caused by narrowing of the carotid arteries in the neck – the major blood vessels supplying blood to the brain. For these patients, an urgent operation to clear the artery of build-ups of dangerous plaque can significantly reduce the risk of potentially serious strokes. The sooner a patient undergoes an operation after their first stroke, the less the risk. The target is 14 days from symptom to surgery. Here at Southend, our median time is seven days. This is the best in the region and one of the best in the country.”
Matthew added: “It really does make what we do so worthwhile when you can see the real difference it makes to our patients and their families.”