Stroke survivor Graham Lewis

Patient story - Graham Lewis, stroke survivor

“I felt very disorientated and felt numb on my right-hand side. I had to call a neighbour straight away.” 

Recalling what he felt like on the hot morning of Saturday 17 June, 68-year-old Graham Lewis instinctively knew that he was having a stroke. 

Refrigeration engineer Graham lives in Boughton-under-Blean, mid-way between Canterbury and Faversham, and as soon as he started to experience the tell-tale symptoms of a stroke, he knew that time was of the essence. 

“The ambulance arrived in no time and I was taken to William Harvey Hospital and received thrombolysis treatment straight away,” said Graham. 

Thrombolysis is also known as thrombolytic therapy and it’s used to dissolve dangerous clots in blood vessels, to improve blood flow, and prevent damage to the brain, in Graham’s case.

In fact Graham was thrombolysed within 21 minutes of arriving at the William Harvey – almost 40 minutes under the national target time to receive such treatment. 

Graham said: “When I was first admitted I was very confused and because of the stroke, I couldn’t really communicate properly. But the very following day things started coming back – it was a real miracle and simply amazing.”

Consultant Physician and Clinical Lead for Stroke Medicine at East Kent Hospitals, Dr David Hargroves said: “We received a call from our ambulance colleagues that they were bringing Graham to us at 11:05 and he arrived 32 minutes later. Just one hour and 43 minutes had passed from the time that Graham first started experiencing symptoms, to the time when thrombolysis was started. 

“That’s an incredible turnaround, delivered by a multidisciplinary team working at the weekend. The coordinated response from SECAmb and East Kent Hospitals ensured that Graham’s severe and potentially, permanently disabling stroke was successfully treated and he avoided extensive brain damage.” 

When he was first admitted to hospital, married grandfather Graham thought his stay at the William Harvey would be a long one. But following his arrival at the William Harvey on Saturday, his inpatient recovery journey was complete within 54 hours and he went home on Monday afternoon. 

Graham is still on the mend and he’ll continue to receive support from an array of clinical experts at East Kent Hospitals and Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust. But he knows that he’s now on the road to making a full recovery. 

He said: “I’ve had very good treatment and the staff have been simply amazing. I thought that it was going to take a lot longer to recover, but I’ve had the right treatment in the right place.”