Skip to Main Content Skip to Site Map Skip to Accessibility Statement

Derry woman encourage others to seek immediate help if experiencing stroke symptoms


A Derry woman is encouraging anyone who experiences any symptoms of stroke to seek immediate help. 62 year old Constance Jordan said it was thanks to the Think FAST campaign that she recognised she was having symptoms of stroke and knew to get help quickly.

Symptoms of Stroke Think FAST:

F = Face Dropping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask a person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?

A = Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S = Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred?

T = Time to call 999

Constance explains:

“I was sitting on my couch when I noticed my right arm felt heavy. I then made my way to the bathroom to see if my face was dropping and it was there I tried to lift both arms in the air but my right arm wouldn’t go up as far. My head then started to feel fuzzy, so I rang my partner and said I was having a stroke because I recognised the symptoms and knew time was of the essence. An ambulance was called and paramedics were with me very quickly and by this stage my right leg had no strength.”

“When I reached Altnagelvin Hospital I was to seen very quickly. My CT scan did indeed show I had a haemorrhagic stroke. I was very unwell and spent the next 5 weeks in hospital.”

“The staff in Altnagelvin were amazing and I am so grateful to each and everyone of them. I had support from the Consultant, nurses, assistants, Physio, Occupational Therapists, Dietetics, Ophthalmology and OT and support staff. They were all very encouraging, especially the Physio who really pushed me on.”

Constance added:

“14 weeks on from my stroke, I am doing really well at home. I was told that things could have been a lot worse in terms of my recovery had I not have got help as quickly as I did. I would encourage everyone to get to know the signs of stroke and THINK F.A.S.T.”

Altnagelvin Hospital Consultant Dr Rizeq said:

“The stroke team is delighted to see the remarkable recovery Constance has made since her stroke. We are grateful to Constance for sharing her journey more widely as it acts as a timely reminder to the wider public to be aware of the symptoms of stroke and to act FAST.”

“It is important we are see our patients as soon as possible to scan and determine the type of stroke they are having and the appropriate treatment. In Constance’s case she had a haemorrhagic (bleed on the brain) stroke and her treating consultant telephoned and discussed her symptoms with the Neurosurgical Registrar on-call at the Royal Victoria Hospital as part of the regional referral acute stroke neurosurgical pathway.”

Dr Rizeq continued:

“Many of the public will also be familiar with Thrombolysis. Thrombolysis aims to disperse a clot causing the stroke and return the blood supply to the brain. The treatment works best the sooner it is given after the onset of a stroke and, if suitable for treatment, should be given to a patient 4.5 hours from the onset of symptoms. There are many patients who are not presenting to the Emergency Department within this timeframe or are unaware of their symptom onset.”

“We would encourage anyone who experiences any one of the Stroke symptoms (THINK F.A.S.T) to seek immediately medical help.”