A fit and healthy teenager who was facing a lifetime of disability after suffering a severe stroke has thanked the medics who saved his life.
Roger Timon, 17, was able to walk out of Cork University Hospital (CUH) with his mother last Thursday to continue his recovery at home thanks to the rapid intervention, skill and care of the team at Ireland's busiest stroke unit.
Dr Liam Healy, a consultant stroke physician and geriatrician at CUH, shared Roger's incredible story over the weekend. Although not directly involved in his care, he said he hopes it raise public awareness of the unit's work.
"Stroke is the second biggest killer worldwide and the leading cause of acquired adult disability. One in five people will suffer a stroke during their lifetime," he said.
"Roger is now back at home waiting like many of his friends for the world to get back to normal so he can get back outside playing sport. His mum is just thankful he is home."
Roger, who pays soccer with Douglas Hall and GAA with Nemo Rangers, was at home last Saturday week when he collapsed suddenly.
His mother, Derbhile, found him lying on the floor of their sitting room, unable to move or speak. She dialled 999.
The two paramedics who arrived at the house realised that Roger was critically ill and after stabilising him, they rushed him by ambulance to CUH where he was seen by the emergency medicine team.
He was paralysed down his right-hand side, he couldn't speak or see properly and a stroke was suspected.
Advanced imaging of his brain and its blood supply confirmed the teenager had suffered a severe stroke - his middle cerebral artery, the main blood supply to the left hand side of his brain, has been blocked by a blood clot.
Roger was facing a lifetime of disability, Dr Healy said.
The medics contacted consultant interventional neuroradiologist, Dr Gerry Wyse, who was at home on a day off and within 20-minutes he was in CUH organising his team to save Roger's life.
They performed a thrombectomy - a highly-skilled and radiology guided procedure which involves the insertion of equipment to mechanically remove the clot from the brain. If done in time, it can reverse the effects of a clot.
The procedure was a success but they had to wait to see If the closet had caused any last damage.
Roger was brought to the acute stroke unit under the care of stroke neurologist Dr Aine Merwick and by the next day, he was up and about wondering what all the fuss was about.
He remained in hospital for a few more days for tests and was cleared to go home last Thursday.
Dr Healy said thrombectomy is an enormously powerful and hugely cost-effective stroke intervention.
"Here in CUH we have performed 16 thrombectomies in just the last month, for people ranging from 17 through to 91 years old. Not all are as dramatic as Roger's," he said.
People should remember the word FAST if they think someone has suffered a stroke: face dropping, arm weakness, speech difficultly and time to call for help.