Ex-Army officer 'left paralysed by A&E error'
A PATIENT who has been left paralysed after a stroke missed out on vital treatment when he was kept waiting more than five hours in an A&E department.
Now the University Hospital of North Staffordshire has apologised to Mike Dickson and is investigating his case.
The hospital is one of a handful of centres to offer stroke patients thrombolysis injections to dissolve blood clots.
But the treatment only works if the strokes have occurred less than four hours earlier.
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Mr Dickson, a former Army officer, was found collapsed at home by his wife Michelle.
His face had 'dropped' on one side and his speech was slurred so she dialled 999.
Hospital procedure states stroke patients taken to A&E should immediately be seen by a consultant, but Mr Dickson, aged 51, said it is not clear if anyone radioed ahead to the hospital.
Mr Dickson feels if he had received the clot-busting treatment, he might not have suffered the long-term after-effects of his stroke, including paralysis down his right side, a change to his personality and sleep apnoea.
Mr Dickson, of Rotterdam Road, Newcastle, said: "The Government spent so much money and effort on a campaign to get stroke victims seen straight away.
"But I had to hang around in an A&E queue for hours.
"Why wasn't I treated the same way as everyone else taken into A&E with stroke symptoms?"
Mr Dickson was given a CT scan to confirm the stroke diagnosis at 6.30am after arriving at the hospital at 1am.
He was admitted to the stroke unit at 9am that day, April 11.
Notes from a meeting Mr Dickson had with Dr Ann-Marie Morris, emergency medicine consultant, state he was identified as a possible stroke patient at triage but that 'a locum doctor let the department down'.
Now, the chief executive of the hospital, Julia Bridgewater, has met Mr Dickson to discuss his complaint.
Mrs Dickson, aged 37, said: "Mike's not the same person he was before the stroke. He is less assertive and his tastes in almost everything have changed."
Mr Dickson added: "On the whole, the stroke team at the hospital are brilliant. But I want to make sure no-one else ever has to go through what I went through. It was completely unacceptable."
North Staffordshire has one of the best stroke survival rates in the country.
The hospital trust recorded 171 deaths from strokes against an expected 225 this year.
Ms Bridgewater, said: "We recognise the time taken to address this complaint was unacceptable and we apologise.
"As Mr Dickson's complaint involves a number of NHS organisations, University Hospital has agreed to liaise with those trusts on Mr Dickson's behalf to provide him with the information he has requested."