BHB celebrates World Stroke Day with free health screenings for everyone

Thursday 26 October 2023: Are you at high risk for having a stroke? You will be able to find out as Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) celebrates World Stroke Day on Monday 30 October.

“We will be offering free health screenings to the public from 11am to 4pm on Monday in the main lobby of King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH),” said BHB Chief of Staff Dr Wesley Miller. “Staff from our Primary Stroke Centre will conduct a stroke risk assessment for attendees at the health screenings and will provide each of them with a Stroke Risk Scorecard. Blood pressure, pulse testing and blood sugar are the screenings that will be done. We are pleased that the Bermuda Diabetes Association has partnered with us in respect of blood sugar testing.”

Stroke is an epidemic in Bermuda. It can have debilitating effects – not just to the person who has experienced the stroke, but also to their family. BHB Consultant Geriatrician Dr Srinath Meadipudi was Stroke Director of Stockport NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester, UK before he joined BHB last year.  He explains exactly what happens in a stroke, and details the signs and symptoms in the article below:-

Every October the world comes together to observe World Stroke Day, a day dedicated to increasing awareness about stroke risks and the critical importance of stroke prevention and timely treatment.

Stroke, often referred to as a “brain attack,” occurs suddenly when the blood flow to the brain is compromised, depriving it of oxygen. It is a condition that ranks among the leading causes of death and disability in developed countries. Mini strokes, called transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), are caused by a temporary blockage that disrupts the blood supply to a particular part of the brain. The symptoms are the same as a stroke, but fully resolve within 24-hours. The good news is that strokes are often preventable, and with swift medical intervention, their devastating effects can often be minimised.

Strokes come in two main types: ischemic and haemorrhagic. Ischemic strokes, which are the most common, occur when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel supplying the brain. Haemorrhagic strokes, although less frequent, are equally dangerous and result from bleeding within the brain tissue, typically due to a ruptured blood vessel.

Strokes result in reduced oxygen supply to the brain causing brain cells to die very quickly. There are billions of brain cells and when stroke occurs, approximately 2 million of them are lost every minute. The window of opportunity for effective stroke treatment is narrow but crucial. Prompt medical attention is the key, as a life-saving procedure called thrombolysis can dissolve the clot and restore blood supply to the brain. However, this therapy must be administered within 4.5 hours of the onset of symptoms, with better recovery if given as early as possible.

A major risk factor for strokes is atrial fibrillation (AF), a condition characterised by an irregular heartbeat. AF can predispose individuals to the formation of blood clots in the heart, which may travel to the brain and cause blockages in blood vessels there. Notably, some AF patients experience palpitations, while others may not have noticeable symptoms until an electrocardiogram (EKG) reveals the condition. Therefore, regular pulse checks are essential, particularly for individuals at risk.

People with heart conditions and overactive thyroid gland problems are at increased risk of developing AF. They should make regular medical check-ups and heart health management a priority.

Strokes are often preventable through adopting a healthy lifestyle. This entails quitting smoking, moderating alcohol intake, maintaining an ideal weight, being physically active, adhering to a healthy diet, managing stress and effectively controlling health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. For individuals with AF, proper medication management to prevent developing a clot is crucial.

While strokes are commonly associated with older age, they can affect individuals of any age. Where there is a family history of strokes under the age of 60, genetic factors may play a role, necessitating proactive measures and careful risk assessment in younger individuals presenting with stroke symptoms.

BHB has established a Primary Stroke Centre at KEMH, which offers state-of-the-art facilities and clot-dissolving treatment to eligible patients arriving within 4.5 hours of experiencing stroke symptoms.

Additionally, for those patients who are not suitable for clot busting treatment, the Stroke Centre has a clinical affiliation agreement with The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland where our patients are considered for a specialised procedure known as thrombectomy. Thrombectomies are aimed at removing clots from blood vessels in the brain.

Early recognition of stroke symptoms is of paramount importance. Even if the symptoms seem to resolve, medical evaluation is still vital, as the risk of a subsequent stroke remains high.


BE FAST campaign: A Life-Saving Acronym

The BE FAST campaign provides a valuable tool for remembering the signs of a stroke and the urgency of action. BEFAST stands for:

  • Balance: Is there a sudden loss of balance or coordination?
  • Eye movements: Are there problems with vision, like double vision or partial blindness?
  • Facial weakness: Does the face droop on one side when smiling?
  • Arm weakness: Can both arms be raised equally?
  • Speech difficulty: Is speech slurred, or can a simple sentence be repeated correctly?
  • Time: If any of these signs are observed, it’s time to call 911 without delay.

Strokes are life-altering and all too often, life-threatening events. Yet, with knowledge and timely action, they can be prevented, and their impact reduced. By embracing a healthy lifestyle, understanding the risks, and being vigilant about stroke symptoms, we can collectively reduce stroke incidence and improve outcomes for those affected.

As we observe World Stroke Day, let us remember that knowledge is our most powerful tool for creating a healthier future and time is of the essence in stroke treatment. Together, we can make a significant impact on stroke prevention and care.


26 October 2023 Home Page, News

Multiple myeloma support group joins international foundation

Tuesday 25 July 2023: A local support group for people diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, plans to expand its assistance to the community next month.

Pamela Shailer started the Bermuda Multiple Myeloma United Support Group in 2015 after someone newly diagnosed with the illness approached her for advice and support.

Mrs Shailer said the group has agreed to join the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF), a US charity. The suggestion came from Dr Alisha Tucker, a Bermuda Hospitals Board locum oncologist/haematologist who specialises in blood cancers. Dr Tucker has experience with the IMF through a support group for patients she was involved with in Jamaica.

Dr Tucker said: “Membership to IMF gives members of the Bermuda patient support group access to the latest research and clinical guidance on managing the illness. They can also attend conferences and seminars, and access a wealth of up-to-date information.”

Mrs Shailer said: “We welcomed the suggestion and agree that this expands the benefit we can provide to not only our current members, but also the general community. We can become more educated survivors and pass that information on to anyone who approaches us about it.

“I was diagnosed in 2013 through a routine blood test in my annual physical with my GP. I had no symptoms. I’ve had a stem cell transplant and chemotherapy, followed by medication. Today am no longer on medication for it. I’ve stressed to my friends the advantage of getting annual physicals, and I feel passionate about sharing information I learn from the IMF.”

BHB Chief of Staff Dr Wesley Miller said: “Assisting our patients this way is an example of how our care extends beyond the walls of hospital buildings. We have a strong oncology team to meet the needs of our island community. They are highly trained, supportive and sensitive physicians and nurses who are uniquely qualified to manage and treat the varied cancer presentations in our people.”

Information about the Bermuda Multiple Myeloma United Support Group will appear on the IMF website in August. This will make the group easy to find for anyone, anywhere in the world, who may be coming to Bermuda and looking for support.

“Most importantly,” said Dr Tucker, “this will ensure that our patients who are diagnosed with multiple myeloma have access to developments on the disease, and can receive support and empowerment in the community.

“We look forward to assisting them in managing and treating their conditions, and even keeping us on our toes with their latest research knowledge and questions.”

The Bermuda Multiple Myeloma United Support Group meets once a month. For more information, contact Mrs Shailer at or call her on 236-6086.


Notes to Editors

A local study conducted in 2017 found that 7% of cancers in Bermuda were blood cancers, and of those, 23% were multiple myeloma.

Here’s a link to the published research paper.

The Bermuda Hospitals Board is a quango (quasi autonomous non-governmental organisation) established under the Bermuda Hospitals Board Act, 1970. It has a Bermuda Government-approved Board and a Chief Executive Officer, responsible for King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute. At the heart of both organisations is high-quality care to all patients.

With approximately 1,700 employees, the Bermuda Hospitals Board is Bermuda’s second largest employer. King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute are the only healthcare organisations in Bermuda accredited by Accreditation Canada, an independent organisation whose role is to help hospitals examine and improve the quality of care and service they provide to their clients. In addition to providing an extensive list of services for the community, the Bermuda Hospitals Board is part of a referral network that includes some of the world’s leading specialist hospitals.

For more information, please visit or contact the Bermuda Hospitals Board Public Relations Department at

25 July 2023 Home Page, News

BHB Primary Stroke Centre celebrates Stroke Awareness Week


Monday 24 October 2022: Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) urges the public to learn the signs and symptoms of stroke. Saturday 29 October is World Stroke Day, and this week BHB’s Primary Stroke Centre team wants to increase community awareness of this condition, which is on the rise in Bermuda.

“Every second counts when treating someone who is experiencing a stroke,” said BHB consultant neurologist Dr Kehinde Kolapo. “We really need everyone on the island to recognise when someone is having a stroke, and to get them to the hospital right away.

Signs of Stroke Illustration“BE FAST. These two words can really help everyone remember the symptoms.

“B is for balance. People who become dizzy or lose their sense of balance could be experiencing a stroke.

“E is for eyes. A stroke may cause sudden blurred vision.

“F is for face. If one side of the face starts to droop, it could signify a stroke.

“A is for arms. Sudden weakness in an arm, or a leg, is another symptom of stroke.

“S is for speech. Those experiencing a stroke may have slurred or unintelligible speech, or they may not be able to speak.

“T is for time, which means you need to get the person to the Emergency Department as soon as possible.”

“There are some types of stroke for which we can administer a drug that bursts the blood clot, effectively ending the stroke,” said Dr Kolapo, “but there is a very short window of time in which it is safe to do this.”

BHB’s Primary Stroke Centre attained distinction certification from Accreditation Canada in April for its acute stroke and inpatient rehabilitation service standards. Its committed team of professionals is passionate about not only providing the best care to patients, but also decreasing the number of people who experience strokes.

“We are tackling prevention by educating the public,” said VP KEMH Clinical Operations Sita Ingram, a member of the Primary Stroke Centre Working Group. “BE FAST is the message we need every resident to know and adhere to.

“Free wallet-sized BE FAST cards are available this week at the Bermuda Diabetes Association, and the reception desks at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute.”

Chief of Staff Dr Wesley Miller said: “We also draw the public’s attention to the full Accreditation Canada report on the Primary Stroke Centre’s distinction certification. It is available on our website at”

Click here to access the report.

Accreditation Canada conducted an onsite survey at BHB from 28 February to 3 March 2022, interviewing staff, stroke patients, their families and Primary Stroke Centre partner organisations.

BHB CEO and President Dr Michael Richmond said: “Stroke distinction certification is the highest commendation a stroke centre can receive in the Accreditation Canada system, and this aligns with BHB’s vision to pursue excellence through improvement, to make Bermuda proud.”

The Accreditation Canada Stroke Distinction surveyors highlighted the areas below in their report as examples of successes within BHB Primary Stroke Centre services:

  • leadership and organisation support
  • knowledgeable and committed staff
  • collaboration with Johns Hopkins Medicine International (JHMI)
  • alignment of the integrated stroke programme plan with the organisation’s strategic plan
  • community partnerships
  • communication and promotion of the stroke programme


Primary Stroke Centre History

Recognising in 2018 that strokes had become an epidemic on the island, BHB took steps to address the problem. In July 2019, BHB launched its Primary Stroke Centre, part of a clinical affiliation with Johns Hopkins Medicine International. Since that time, stroke patient outcomes have significantly improved in Bermuda, due to a more clearly defined process for managing stroke patients, together with a robust national campaign highlighting the signs and symptoms of stroke and the importance of attending the hospital immediately.

At its peak, 14% of those who experienced a stroke were able to receive a clot-busting drug that increased their chances of fully recovering. Not all stroke patients are eligible to receive the drug.

In 2021, then Primary Stroke Centre Director Dr Francene Gayle said: “This figure is impressive and is almost double the 7% average of primary stroke centres in the US.”

BHB’s Primary Stroke Centre also made history with its first trans-oceanic mechanical thrombectomy case. In this instance, a local patient with a major blockage in a major artery of the brain was diagnosed and airlifted to The Johns Hopkins Hospital within 17 hours. The patient received lifesaving thrombectomy surgery and is likely the first in the world to have experienced the trans-oceanic service.

24 October 2022 Home Page, News