The benefits of telehealth and a helicopter rescue

At the age of 31, Kate suffered a stroke. A radiographer, Kate was picking up her son from day care. On arrival, she collapsed and was unable to use her right side or talk, though she was conscious though and understood what was going on.

Kate was rushed to her own workplace, Hamilton Hospital, and she was taken straight to the CT scanner. A telehealth consultation was held and the decision was made to helicopter Kate to Melbourne. The stroke happened at 9:30am and Kate arrived at the Royal Melbourne Hospital at 2:10pm. She was quickly wheeled into surgery where a clot was removed from her brain.

At 5:30pm Kate woke up and could speak and move again. She spent three nights in hospital and has returned to normal life with no residual deficits. She was very lucky that she was close to a hospital with a scanner and had access to an air ambulance.

The Australian Stroke Alliance wants to place a scanner in air ambulances – fixed-wing and helicopters – so treatment can be improved for those in more remote locations.

I am more grateful for life than I have ever been before and so thankful for our medical care here in Victoria, Australia. If I lived anywhere else in regional Australia the outcome from my stroke could have been so different.