Take patients to hospital immediately: expert
People with high-blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease should be taken to hospital immediately if they collapse, otherwise they could have a stroke, a health expert said yesterday.
He was referring to the case of a news photographer who suffered a stroke after collapsing at Parliament on Thursday. Medical staff present at the site chose not to use the ambulance that was on standby to transfer Nation Multimedia Group photographer Sakol Sandhiratne to hospital immediately after he collapsed. He ended up having to wait half an hour before being moved. The patient has a history of high blood pressure.
"A patient has a better chance of survival if he is taken to hospital immediately. The three hours after collapse is a very critical period," Dr Methee Wongsirisuwan, a neurosurgeon at Rajavithi Hospital, said.
"Patients with high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease face a higher risk of stroke.
"They should be taken to hospital immediately; don't waste time observing their primary symptoms," the doctor advised, adding that stroke patients can often suffer from facial palsy or paralysis.
Methee added that it was very difficult for medics to diagnose whether a patient will suffer a stroke after collapsing. "Sometimes people collapse because they have not had breakfast," he said, adding that the best thing to do is get the patient to hospital right away.
Dr Prachasawit Lebnark, acting secretary-general of the National Emergency Medical Service Institute, said medics cannot always properly evaluate a patient's condition because medical equipment is necessary for correct diagnosis.
"If the patient has trouble breathing, he should be taken to hospital immediately. Medics can safely observe the patient for a while if the breathing is not obstructed, because they might have collapsed due to low blood sugar," he explained.
After checking the patient's vital signs, medics should also ask the patient which hospital they are registered at.
Otherwise, the patient can be sent to a medical facility nearby, he said.
Dr Prachasawit said he would adjust emergency guidelines and ensure that patients are immediately taken to hospital if they collapse.