Green light for stroke treatment

Taranaki Rescue Helicopter Trust

On August 29, Murray Horo’s life changed dramatically. The Rahotu groundsman suffered a stroke, but thanks to your support he’s still here to tell the story. Twelve months earlier he wouldn’t have been.

“It was a Wednesday morning,” recalls Murray, from the Horo’s Rahotu home. “I got out of bed as usual and sat in the lounge to watch a bit of morning TV. Then I felt my arm go numb down one side and I went to get up and fell on the floor. I was totally unaware that my wife thought I was having a seizure and called the ambulance to take me to Taranaki Base Hospital. A CT scan revealed that I had significant clots on the left side of my brain.”

By lunchtime, Murray was in the operating theatre at Auckland City Hospital, undergoing Endovascular Clot Retrieval. But it wasn’t just the surgery that saved Murray’s life; it was the quick response of a new partnership between St John Ambulance, the Taranaki and Auckland District Health Boards and the Taranaki Rescue Helicopter to get him there in time.

Endovascular Clot Retrieval is time critical treatment and is only available in Auckland. The treatment removes or ‘sucks’ the blood clot from the brain, allowing blood to flow to the previously blocked area. For each minute a clot blocks blood flow, 2 million brain cells are lost.

“To ensure patients like Murray are able to receive this treatment, we communicate with a specialist team in Auckland while we’re in the air,” explains Andy Cronin, Taranaki Rescue Helicopter General Manager. “This means patients can proceed directly to the Neuro- Interventional Suite upon arrival where further specialists are ready to complete a final patient assessment and proceed with treatment.

They’ve already reviewed the results of the CT scan because of a partnership we have in Taranaki with Auckland Hospital.”

Murray is currently taking each day as it comes, but they are days he can enjoy thanks to this treatment and the successful partnership between Taranaki and Auckland. “We feel very lucky and thankful to have had this option for treatment in Auckland City Hospital. This has given Murray the best outcome for his future, in fact it saved his life,” says Murray’s wife Leanne.

“It is great that we can live in Rahotu and with the awesome work of the Rescue Helicopter and medical teams, Murray was in Auckland within hours of the stroke. We really respect the work of the team at the Rescue Helicopter and the difference they have made to both our lives and our Taranaki community.”