Denis Healy, photographed in September 2009. He suffered two strokes in 2007 and spent six months as a patient in St. James's. He is now back working on his farm in Wicklow and selling his produce at farmers' markets
Stroke is the single most frequent cause of acquired physical disability in Ireland and affects up to 10,000 people annually.
Since 2006, with the arrival of Dr Joe Harbison, now the hospital’s lead stroke physician and National Clinical Director for stroke medicine, St. James's Hospital has been focused on organising specialist multi-disciplinary care for stroke patients.
With his team, Dr Harbison, in co-operation with St. James’s Hospital Foundation, set out in 2010 to raise funds for the development of the service. As a result of the generosity of donors, significant investment in the service has been possible and patient outcomes have improved exponentially.
One in five Irish people will suffer a stroke in their lifetime, making it a disease which will affect almost every family in some way. Yet outcomes for stroke patients in Ireland are the worst in Western Europe.
The risk of death or permanent disability following a stroke is 20% higher in Ireland than the European average, and 52% higher than in Germany. Stroke patients in Ireland also face the longest hospital stays in Europe, due to a lack of rehabilitation and community facilities.