Mareeba stroke averted

Mareeba Stroke averted

Published Friday 28 May 2021

Kent Duffield standing with Mareeba Hospital Clinical Nurse Michelle Sutherland.

Kent Duffield with Mareeba Hospital Clinical Nurse Michelle Sutherland who delivered the training.

It’s the best ultimate outcome for community health – delivering training to the public about a potential health issue, who then use their newfound knowledge in a potentially life-threatening situation.

That’s what exactly what happened to Mareeba Hospital Clinical Nurse Michelle Sutherland and Mareeba Men’s Shed Vice President Kent Duffield.

Michelle delivered training about being aware of the signs of stroke at the Mareeba Men’s Shed and just four days later Kent recognised those very signs in his wife.

“My wife was cleaning the car and I saw her in the corridor and I knew something was wrong,” Kent explained. “She was very agitated; her speech was slurred and I was trying to calm her down.”

“She told me her arm felt heavy, and I thought, ‘that’s it’ and I rang an ambulance.

“Normally I would have driven her to the hospital, but I had heard Michelle’s talk about stroke and she said call an ambulance sooner rather than later.”

The signs of stroke (FAST) are:

  • Face – has their face drooped?
  • Arms – can they lift both arms?
  • Speech – is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
  • Time – time is critical. Call 000 if you see any of these signs.

Fortunately, Kent’s wife has made a full recovery after getting checked out in the Mareeba Hospital emergency department.

“This is actually what we strive for in all our community presentations and it’s not unusual for us to hear this sort of feedback. But it is incredibly satisfying,” Michelle said.

“It’s really the reason why we do this training. It gives people the confidence to handle a situation that they might never have encountered before. Stories like this really make health promotion worthwhile.”

“Mareeba community health has been partnering with the Mareeba Men’s Shed to present monthly health promotion and education sessions. We are guided by what the men would like to know more about,” she said.

The average age of members of the men’s shed is 78 years old.

Eighteen people attended Michelle’s talk on the day Kent learned about strokes. Michelle is available to talk to other community groups. Please call 4092 9100 for more information.

Last updated: December 2021