Prior planning is needed for possible stroke victims

An older acquaintance recently had a stroke and appears to have gotten to the local clinic a bit too late to benefit from whatever drugs might have helped. Looks like he finally got to the hospital about a day after his stroke (we will never know how long the time lag actually was) in a taxi. Apparently the family had to hold a long conference to come up with a plan.

Those considering living in San José, never mind the beach types, need to ask themselves some uncomfortable questions about bedding down in paradise.

1.) How many hospitals in Costa Rica have a neurologist on duty at say, 3 in the morning, who can administer a CAT scan and intelligently interpret the results? Keep in mind that about 85 percent of strokes are caused by a clot and the other 15 percent are due to hemorrhage. So the clot busting drugs of recent fame can easily kill those without the clot option! Gotta have that CAT scan and results have to be INTELLIGENTLY read out.

2.) Take a look inside the local Cruz Roja ambulances and make some judgments.

3.) The person without a car needs to come up with a real serious emergency plan such as a panic button on the night stand that will ring a buzzer in the homes of a few friends who can mobilize quickly. The clot busting wonder drugs have to be administered within a SHORT time frame to be of help.

The acquaintance is getting better, as most stroke survivors do, but his future quality of life would have been much better if he had made real plans in advance for a health emergency.

Even paradise has one or two drawbacks.

Jim Harrison
Charlottesville, Virginia

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