Take in this disquieting fact: the Goa Medical College and Hospital, Bambolim, on an average sees four patients coming to its casualty ward every day after suffering from an acute brain stroke.
“Stroke patients are handled by doctors across Goa… we at the GMC see less number of people, as oftentimes these patients go either to primary health centres or private physicians. Nevertheless at the GMC we see four patients of acute brain stroke every day. The one who is less critical even delay coming to the hospital,” said Dr Teresa Ferreira, head of the department of neurology at the GMC.
She said that brain stroke cases are not new in the state but have been on the rise. The possible factor for this rise could be lifestyle changes. The lifestyle changes have pushed up the incidence of diabetes at younger age and also obesity, which result in brain stroke.
The treatment has to be provided to the patient within first few hours of the stroke. As per the latest guidelines, the patient ought to be given ‘thrombolytic therapy’ and ‘neuro intervention’ in certain cases, Dr Ferreira explained.
“At present, we are giving ‘intravenous thrombolysis’ for brain stroke patients. But this cannot be given beyond the window period of four and half hours. In the case of a severe stroke, on elapsing the period of four and half hours ‘neuro intervention’ is the treatment of choice…,” she said.
She said that ‘neuro intervention’ is very expensive treatment and calls for expertise.
It is pertinent to note here that the state government has given its approval for sending Dr Ferreira
to Cleveland in the US for a two-week long ‘observership programme’ in stroke management.
Dr Ferreira said, “I am visiting Cleveland to learn
more about current recommendations and understand how to set up the state-of the-art facility for the stroke unit in the GMC which can make a difference in the long run for the patients and their families.”
Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said the government is in the process of signing a memorandum of understanding between the GMC with the University of Miami in stroke management.
“The University of Miami has done a lot of research in stroke management. Hence we are tying up with them. We are looking to develop the stroke unit at the GMC in a professional way as there is a surge in the number of stroke cases,” he said.
The government has made special provisions of funds to send doctors from the state-run hospitals to other parts of the country and abroad for observership programmes so as to improve the quality of treatment to the people of Goa.
He further said the government in the near future will procure all modern equipment, including robotic equipment, for the stroke unit of GMC.