A new stroke and rehabilitation unit was opened in the Captain Murchison’s ward of St Bernard’s hospital yesterday.
The new unit was made possible with donations from the International Lions Club of Gibraltar, who were presented with a plaque from the Minster for Health, Neil Costa, and thanked for their contribution.
Leslie Bruzon from the Lions Club was at the unveiling and said it was a pleasure to make the donation and that it would not be the last one.
The new unit will enable doctors and nurses to provide two services, emergency and acute rehabilitation.
The accident and emergency side of the new service will allow medical professionals the ability to provide the person a thrombolytic – a clot-dissolving drug, provided they get it early enough.
“I remember when I was a junior doctor many years ago as a casualty officer trying to refer a lady with a stroke up to the medical register. He had many things to do and I was trying to persuade him that this was urgent and he said ‘well what can I do for her? what we are going to do is put her in a bed and see if she recovers or not. There has been a lot of moving forward since then,” said Dr Francis Hayes, Accident and Emergency consultant.
Outlining his message for the public, he said: “as we say in the medical profession ‘time is brain’, the quicker you come the greater the chances of us being able to dissolve that clot.” Thereby lessening the disability a person would have otherwise had.
“The service that is being provided by Dr Hayes is an entirely new and something we have been working on since Dr Hayes came to work with us at the GHA,” said Mr Costa.
“We thought it was an extremely important service to provide,” he added.
Once a patient is stabilised with the thrombolysis a comprehensive tailor made rehabilitation programme will be compiled.
This will be done in the new acute suite to assist with the rehabilitation of a patient, which was also unveiled.
“We will work together in amongst our own team and other professionals to make sure the patients improve from a physical, from a mental and from a social functioning point of view as well,” said Dr Keith Gracia, associate specialist in medicine.
The medical director Dr Danny Cassaglia was also present at the unit opening, and said: “I think the important thing about stroke care is the big package which includes right from the treatment of the acute phase at accident and emergency through to the treatment at the semi acute phase here on the ward and through the rehabilitation process.”
The sister on the ward is Lisa Bennett – Long.
She spoke at the unveiling and said: “Having been nursing in Gibraltar for many years, we are very lucky I think as a society to have this option offered to the citizens. It will make such a difference to their quality of life and on-going care back in the community.”
Dr Gareth Latin, consultant in general medicine, was also present at the unit opening.
Mr Costa also thanked all his team at the GHA who made the opening of the unit possible.
Pics by Johnny Bugeja