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15 May 2015, 08:28
A Hampshire teenager's thanked doctors for saving his life after he suffered a stroke, just days after he turned 18.
Ben Gray, from Locks Heath, sought medical help after he was unable to shift a hangover from his birthday celebrations - but tests showed he had a blood clot in his heart.
And despite being given a blood-thinning infusion in a bid to stop the clot leaving the heart, he suffered a stroke while on a ward at the Queen Alexandra (QA) Hospital in Portsmouth.
His mother, Deborah, a carer from Locks Heath, said:
``A few days after Ben celebrated his 18th birthday he was still nursing what we thought was a hangover.
``After four days I took him to our GP who referred Ben to QA Hospital for an ECG and an x-ray as she suspected Ben had an infection on his kidney - we couldn't believe it when the tests revealed he actually had a blood clot in his heart.''
She added: ``One minute he was walking around the ward trying to get his TV working, and the next thing he was having a stroke.
``It was 4pm so he said he'd see me out, and just as he went to stand his body froze. It was like he was paralysed in a freeze-frame. I asked him if he was ok but he didn't speak or move.
``His face had no expression and just looked lost. I screamed out to the nurses who despite being by our side within seconds, by the time they arrived Ben's face had dropped and I instantly knew what was wrong - my 18-year-old son who celebrated his birthday only a few days before was having a stroke.''
A blood clot can block a blood vessel which in turn starves parts of the brain of oxygen and can cause symptoms such as paralysis and loss of speech. A blood clot had lodged in the major artery that supplied the left side of Mr Gray's brain.
Stroke specialist Dr Peter Howard referred Mr Gray to Southampton General Hospital for a treatment to remove the clot using a tube inserted through the groin which passed all the way up through the left side of the neck in order to clear the blood vessels.
The following morning, Mr Gray was talking again and a year later he now volunteers at a car garage and has returned to health although he has lost the use of one of his hands.
``It was all very bizarre. The last thing I could remember was walking around the ward trying to sort out my TV after they said I had a blood clot on my heart, so to be told I'd had a stroke. I wasn't even sure what it was. I just thought it was something that old people have.
``Although it was four days later I still couldn't move my body properly. I was lying flat and not having control of my body was really scary. It was all a bit of a daze and despite my mum telling me what had happened I just couldn't get my head around it.
``I can't thank the doctors enough, especially the ones that came in on their day off for my surgery. If they hadn't have done that then I wouldn't be here now.''
The Stroke Association released figures this week showing the number of strokes occurring in people of working age (20 to 64) rose by a quarter in the past 15 years.