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AMAZING ACHIEVEMENT: 90-year-old Pinner man saves thousands of lives with stroke strategy

 Published on: 3rd November 2021   |   By: Lizzie Ellis   |   Category: Uncategorized

A Pinner man who played an integral part in implementing the UK’s National Stroke Strategy has shared the inspirational story of how he has saved the lives of stroke patients across the country and obtained an MBE for his work.

Derek Whitehead, 90, of Winsor Court, gave a talk to the community at Pinner Baptist Church on Tuesday, October 19, 2021. Listeners heard how in 2009, Derek was awarded an MBE by Her Majesty The Queen for his service to stroke patients.

After his wife Barbra suffered a mini-stroke in 2000 and a diagnosis took 16-weeks, Derek campaigned tirelessly for stroke patients to get faster, life-saving treatments in the UK, like more advanced treatments used in America at the time.

In 2005, It was decided to establish a National Stroke Strategy and Derek was invited to join the team. He put forward the idea of brain scanning facilities at carefully positioned hospitals, to help identify the type of stroke, haemorrhagic or ischaemic, and provide the correct treatment. After successful trials, the strategy was published in 2007 and quickly implemented nationally.

Derek said: “In 2009 I was invited to Buckingham Palace to receive an MBE from the Queen. In our conversation, we discussed Princess Margaret, who died from a stroke and I observed that if we had been a bit earlier or she had been a bit later, we might have been able to save her.

“I was very proud to have received the MBE, but in 2010 I was even more proud when a study showed that the UK annual stroke death rate had halved.”

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