thank you Mary G for this valuable information
IS ANYONE EXPECTING TO HAVE A STROKE WHILE LIVING IN COTACACHI? Didn’t think so! Me neither! :-).
But……some of us will. There was a great article in El Commercio today about how strokes are treated in Ecuador. There are two types of strokes…one is caused by a bleeding vessel in the brain and the other type is caused by a blood clot in the brain. The type caused by a clot can be treated very effectively with a medication called TPA (google it for more info)…..but it works only if given within 4 hours of when the stroke happened. According to the article, the only PUBLIC hospital that has this medication is Hospital Eugenio Espejo in Quito. Hospital Metropolitano in Quito was the first PRIVATE hospital to have this treatment and they have been using it for 8 years. In the PUBLIC hospital the medication is $1,000 per vial (not everything at the public hospital is free) and the cost per vial in PRIVATE hospitals is $1,300.
I have no idea how many vials would be used per person (the amount of medication needed depends on the patient’s weight)….and these prices do not include doctor fees, ICU fees, etc. The article made no mention of IESS, so I have no idea if the IESS hospital in Quito has this medication…..but I wouldn’t count on it. Does anyone know that bit of info? So…..my advice to anyone who thinks they might be having a stroke……get yourself into a taxi or ambulance and go directly to Quito….to either Hospital Eugenio Espejo, if you plan to go through the public health system….or to Hospital Metropolitano if you plan to use private care. Going anywhere in Cotacachi, Otavalo or Ibarra would be a major loss of very valuable time. Literally every minute counts in situations like this! Just an FYI…..if you think you are having a stroke and call 911, the ambulance that shows up at your house is REQUIRED to take you to the closest hospital. You have no choice in the matter.
So if you want to go directly to Quito, your choices are to call your favorite taxi driver or call a private ambulance company. Calling 911 will cause you to waste very valuable time! For people who are members of a health pod/chapter……you might want to print out a map giving the directions to the Quito hospital of your choice and have it in your folder of health information. It’s possible your favorite taxi driver might not know the location of your hospital of choice!
This information from Lee W
As an Emergency and Trauma RN for 25 years I can tell you that the biggest problem with strokes is peoples failure to recognize that someone is having a stroke and missing the window for treatment. This can make recovery difficult or impossible.
Any sudden change in a person’s affect or cognition could be a sign of a stroke. If a person suddenly is using wrong words or is unable to speak or starts stumbling and has loss of balance suspect a stroke.
If you think someone might be having a stroke, ask them to smile. If one side of the mouth droops down this is probably a stroke. Could be Bell’s Palsy but don’t take a chance. Ask them cognition questions such as date, time and their name. If they are unable to answer or give wrong answers this is another stroke sign.
Another good test is have them grip your hands with theirs. If one side is notably weaker than probably a stroke. Have them put their arms straight out in front with their eyes closed. If one arm starts to drift down than this is a sign of a stroke.
People will not all have all of the symptoms and some may be subtle. If you have any reason to suspect that someone is having a stroke then time is of the essence. It is far better to err on the side of cautio