Quick action needed

in stroke cases

[Editor’s Note: The following was written by Carl D’Andrea, the director of the New Milford Hospital Emergency Department. For any questions or comments, he can be reached at 860-210-5200.]

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S and the leading cause of disability.

The cost of stroke care in America alone is estimated to be 34 billion dollars every year.

Significant advances into treatment and prevention have been made.

Now, much more can be done to treat an acute stroke and limit disability, but only if the patient is treated within the first few hours.

That is the single most important piece of information you need to understand from this article.

Strokes are complex and have multiple causes, but the majority can be divided into two types, ischemic (85 percent) and hemorrhagic (15 percent).

Ischemic is when blood can’t get to a section of brain, usually from a clot.

Hemorrhagic is when a blood vessel bleeds into the brain tissue itself.

The symptoms can be identical, but the treatments for each can differ greatly.

Symptoms of stroke can include headache, blurred or loss of vision, dizziness, facial droop, confusion, difficulty speaking or walking, or weakness or numbness in your face, arms or legs.

Think BEFAST: balance, eyes, face, speech. T is time to call 911.

If you develop any of these symptoms, you should be evaluated at the Emergency Department as soon as possible. Every minute counts.

The treatment of ischemic stroke has changed dramatically over the last several years.

We used to focus on rehabilitation, not acute treatment. That changed in 1996 when TPA was approved for use in ischemic stroke.

TPA is a substance the human body already makes and is known as a “super clot buster.”

It was initially used to treat heart attacks. It has been shown to be beneficial in stroke if used within the first 4.5 hours of symptom onset.

Although there are many restrictions to its use and it has some potential serious side effects, it has been shown to limit disability and lead to significant recovery in some cases.

If TPA can’t be used or if the stroke is large, clot removal using a wire placed through the skin by a specially trained neurosurgeon may be an option and is currently available at Danbury Hospital.

This too, is time dependent.

If you or someone you know begins to show signs or symptoms consistent with possible stroke, it is essential to come to the Emergency Department as quickly as possible. Every minute counts.

Time is brain.

Urges ‘no’ vote

for school budget

To the Editor:

It's budget time again and the board of education wants another large increase.

We closed a school last year and the budget has still gone up this year and last.

We are told that the medical coverage is the biggest reason.

It's time the increased medical costs are passed on to the employees and not the taxpayers.

Board of Ed employees have very good coverage and don't pay anywhere near what people pay in the private sector.

My medical cost went up again this year and I didn't receive a raise in my income.

Now it also looks like either my state or local taxes are going to increase to fund the $1.2 billion the state will pay for the Connecticut teachers pensions this year.

I say vote “no” for the board of education budget.

Richard Tomascak

New referendum needed on Ag-STEM

Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to the Region 12 Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools Pat Cosentino regarding the district’s plans to build an Ag-STEM facilitiy at Shepaug Valley School.

How dare you spend Region 12 taxpayers’ money without asking permission?

Only parents of children in the school system approve of your frivolous spending.

We need to have another referendum since the last one was in 2015.

Since then, a lot of information or misinformation has come to light.

Ms. Cosentino has changed figures for enrollment. which are much lower. She had to change the footprint of the school, and at 36 minutes into the video she said, “Commissioner Curry’s letter had been rescinded” and she received news from Rep. Arthur O’Neill, telling her DAS has had a lot of questions, and the letter was not rescinded.

Commissioner Curry had serious concerns about its passage.

All of this debacle stems — a play on words — on the fact that she is trying to save the job of four principals, a director of curriculum, a full complement of maintenance staff and approximately 50 percent of all teachers.

All this is under the guise of better educating our children, which education should be first and foremost.

We rank 37th in the state, which is a disgrace.

We should improve our reading, science and math scores.

Now for monetary figures. We already spent $130,000.

The school district had paid $370,000 to architectural firm Kaestle Boos Associates and builders O&G Industries for the original and revised project plans.

And, $7,400 to O&G through June, $20,000 for February, $80,000 for March, $100,000 for April, $100,000 for May and $195,000 for June, totaling $502,000.

We are about to blow $532,000. How are we, the taxpayer, going to pay for this?

The state of Connecticut is in the red and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is wanting to shift a percentage of teachers’ pensions on the towns, in addition to paying for our state troops 100 percent to the town, and who knows what else.

It is about time that people stop cowering in the corner and see the reality.

Is it not at all fair for seniors and taxpayers without children in the school system to shoulder the burden?

If you are fortunate enough to be financially fit and do not find this to be an inconvenience, think of the people that are less fortunate and try to make ends meet daily.

Fran DeSimone

Washington