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Hadleigh woman Tracey Holland’s gratitude at Ipswich Hospital staff after suffering stroke during routine appointment





When 59-year-old Tracey Holland showed up for a routine hospital appointment at the end of last year, she didn’t realise she was in the midst of a medical emergency.

The grandmother-of-five is part of a research project at Ipswich Hospital and undergoes regular check-ups.

Upon arriving, she apologised to nurses for having a twitchy eye – but they immediately recognised the symptoms.

Tracey Holland suffered a stroke during a routine appointment. Picture: ESNEFT
Tracey Holland suffered a stroke during a routine appointment. Picture: ESNEFT

Tracey was showing signs of having a stroke, and was immediately seen by a doctor.

Now, she has given thanks to hospital staff for their quick thinking, and feared that, if she hadn’t been in hospital that day, she may have ignored it.

“My eye was a bit funny that morning and by the time I got to hospital I couldn’t see out of it very well,” Tracey said.

Tracey lives in Hadleigh with her husband Paul. Contributed picture
Tracey lives in Hadleigh with her husband Paul. Contributed picture

“I happened to mention it. The nurses Helen and Debbie said they didn’t think something was quite right.”

Tracey, who lives in Hadleigh with her husband Paul, was attended to by Dr Sanjeev Sharma.

He told her that her blood pressure was high and she needed to see the stroke team immediately.

It was then that the right side of Tracey’s face began to droop, and she was sent to A&E for an urgent review.

Helen Atkins and Debbie Simmonds from the research team with endocrinologist Dr Sanjeev Sharma
Helen Atkins and Debbie Simmonds from the research team with endocrinologist Dr Sanjeev Sharma

She was escorted there by Helen, a member of the research team.

Tracey underwent a CT scan and stayed in the hospital overnight.

She was then told she’d suffered a mini-stroke.

Tracey said: She said: “It was all rather shocking.

“I was told it was a small stroke and needed to stay in.

“I care for Paul who is poorly after having a stroke and heart attacks himself, so I was concerned about him at that point.

“I was in the right place at the right time. Helen and Debbie just seemed to know.

“They were amazing. I can’t thank them enough and they came up to the ward to check on me. If I’d been at home I think I’d have carried on ignoring it.”

Tracey was only required to stay in hospital for one night, and now takes medication at home while awaiting follow-up appointments.

Tracey’s visit to the hospital was for a routine check-up as part of Ipswich Hospital’s Trials Research Unit.

This deals with a large number of patients with a wide range of conditions – and aims to provide them with the best care possible.

Dr Sharma, an endocrinologist, said it was fortunate the team picked up on the signs of stroke early, and acted accordingly.

He added: “Irrespective of the reason patients are attending hospital, they should never hesitate to inform the healthcare team about their ongoing and new symptoms.

“We hope to see Tracey much better in her subsequent research appointments and thank her for her gratitude.”

Following the incident, the NHS wishes to highlight the symptoms of a stroke.

A person’s face may have ‘dropped’ on one side. They may not be able to smile, and their eyes or mouth may have drooped, and they may not be able to move their arms and keep them in position due to weakness or numbness in one of them.

In addition, speech may be slurred, or the sufferer may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake.

They may also struggle to understand what you’re saying to them.

If someone you know shows these symptoms, you should dial 999 immediately.