A WOMAN was back home within two weeks of suffering a stroke after clot-busting drugs at Southend Hospital stopped the symptoms becoming more serious.

Elsa Hunter, 51, recognised symptoms of the condition when part of her body began to go numb, so she immediately phoned for an ambulance.

She was taken to Southend Hospital, which is one of only 40 in the UK to offer specialist thrombolysis treatment, where she was given the drugs to help with her recovery.

Elsa said: "My left leg was dragging behind me and I felt totally confused.

"I haven't a clue what I said on the phone, but the paramedics were fantastic and got me to hospital very quickly. Then as soon as I got there, I was whisked away for a scan."

Once it was confirmed Mrs Hunter, from Thorpe Bay, had a life-threatening blood clot, she was given an injection and within an hour her symptoms had diminished.

Mrs Hunter, who also suffers from a bone marrow disease, has suffered two previous strokes, in 1999 and 2004.

On the first occasion, she spent five weeks in hospital, and the second time she was in for six weeks.

After receiving the injection this time, she was home in a fortnight.

She said: "The injection - coupled with my determination - has helped me tremendously."

The stroke thrombolysis service was introduced at Southend Hospital only last month, and already a number of patients have been saved from a devastating stroke.

Meanwhile, consultant stroke physician Dr Paul Guyler reiterated the need to act quickly if a stroke is suspected.

He warned: "During a stroke, 1.9 million brain cells die every minute.

"Therefore, the earlier thrombolysis is given the better.

"It can mean more of the brain is saved.

"It is essential the drug is administered within three hours."

Southend Hospital Charitable Foundation's StrokeBusters appeal is currently seeking to raise £1million to ensure more stroke patients can be treated successfully.

For more information about the appeal, contact the fundraising office on 01702 385337.