Stroke victims slow to ER may miss critical window for drugs

After a stroke, P.E.I. residents are slow getting to the hospital, according to a new report by the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Clot-busting medications can lessen stroke's impact

The Heart and Stroke Foundation stresses in a new report that people suffering strokes need to get to the hospital quickly to benefit from special medications that can mitigate the damage. (Heart and Stroke Foundation)

After a stroke, P.E.I. residents are slow getting to the hospital, according to a new report by the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation.

The delay can mean clot-busting drugs, which could lessen the impact of the stroke, might not be able to be administered.

There is a three-hour window for the medications to be an option.              

"We're slow to get to hospital and we also drive ourselves or have someone drive us instead of using the ambulance," said Charlotte Comrie, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of P.E.I.

"And so when we arrive in the emergency room, the emergency physicians and nurses aren't ready for us and don't have the tests and the people who administer them ready to do them on us. So the strokes are severe when perhaps they don't have to be quite as severe."

About 300 Islanders have strokes each year, says Comrie. That puts the province in the middle of the pack when compared to the rest of the country.