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Mother Survives Massive Stroke Thanks To Quick Response Of The Rescue Helicopter

On a busy Friday morning in May, Caroline, a fit mother in her 40s was going about her usual routine of getting her two kids ready for school. But in an instant, everything changed. Suddenly, Caroline collapsed, suffering a massive stroke, her children shocked and alarmed at seeing their mum laying in front of them unable to speak.

“As soon as I collapsed, I realised I was having a stroke due to the FAST acronym I’d learned recently on a first aid course! My face felt strange, I couldn’t lift my arm, my speech was deteriorating, and the left side of my body started to stop working,” explained Caroline.

Caroline managed to communicate to her husband that she was having a stroke but then couldn’t make any more sound after that.

“I remember feeling so worried about my kids having to see me like that and seeing the panic on their faces” says Caroline.

Caroline and her husband, who run a local motel, were fortunate enough to be just 5 minutes away from the hospital. They wasted no time and rushed her to the Emergency Department. Upon arrival, Caroline's condition continued to deteriorate. She lost total movement in the left side of her body, as well as the ability to speak or open her eyes.

The medical team diagnosed Caroline with a clot at the base of her brain and quickly administered thrombolysis to dissolve the clot. Although there was some improvement, it was evident that Caroline required specialised neurological treatment in Auckland. Understanding the severity of Caroline's condition and the importance of timely intervention, the rescue helicopter was promptly tasked with transferring her to Auckland.

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With the help of the highly skilled rescue helicopter crew on board, Caroline was swiftly transported, where the specialised medical-surgical team awaited her.

“Within a few short hours of first experiencing the stroke, I found myself onboard the rescue helicopter, heading towards Auckland. Despite the urgency of the situation, the rescue helicopter pilot and critical care flight paramedic remained calm, reassuring, and even injected moments of light-heartedness into what felt like an overwhelmingly traumatic day.” says a grateful Caroline.

Upon arrival in Auckland, Caroline's condition had slightly improved due to the thrombolysing process, which had shrunk the clot. However, the clot still posed a significant risk to her health, and immediate action was necessary.

"I remember the doctor saying he recommended he take it out or it would be like a ticking time bomb. After I'd agreed, within what felt like minutes, I was in the theatre being prepped for surgery," Caroline explained.

Caroline's recovery was nothing short of remarkable.

"As soon as I woke up, I could talk, move, and call my husband... who was still in the car on his way up to Auckland from Tauranga! He couldn't believe that his wife, who'd been barely talking, was already sitting up asking to have some food!”.

“Thanks to the efficiency of the rescue helicopter, I arrived in Auckland so quickly. This proved to be life-saving for me. Not only did the speed of my arrival in Auckland play a crucial role in saving my life, but it also contributed to me quickly regaining my mobility and speech," she expressed gratefully.

Caroline looks back on this harrowing experience with deep gratitude for the availability and speed of the rescue helicopter. The skill, expertise, and quick response allowed her to have an amazing outcome and quickly access the life-saving treatment she needed.

After further treatment, Caroline has made a full recovery and can now continue to be there for her two young children.

“Moved by this life-changing experience, I am dedicated to supporting the incredible service provided by the rescue helicopter team. I urge everyone to donate in the hope that more lives, just like mine, can be saved.”

Caroline's remarkable recovery serves as a powerful reminder to all that every minute matters when it comes to time-critical situations and every time your crew takes to the skies this summer, it's because they are the very best, and in many cases, the only option.

Your support fuels our flights and will help save lives this holiday season. Donate now and help keep loved ones together this summer.

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