Stroke patient who suffered terrifying locked-in syndrome inspires Lincoln hospital donation

Two charities have generously donated a £30,000 rehabilitation machine to Lincoln County Hospital, inspired by a remarkably determined stroke patient.

The PENTAX nasendoscopy machine can look up the nose and down to the back of the throat of stroke patients, helping specialist speech and language therapists to assess, treat and manage swallowing disorders of people resulting from a stroke.

The donation to Lincoln County Hospital’s stroke unit was inspired by Naomi Wentzell, who suffered a stroke in 2015.

The 46-year-old was at work when she collapsed and was rushed to Lincoln County Hospital.

She said: “When I woke up I was told I had suffered a stroke, but I was suffering from locked-in syndrome.

“I could hear and understand everything, but the only part of the body I could move were my eyes. It was so frightening and also frustrating.”

Naomi made a remarkable recovery thanks to the treatment and care at Lincoln County Hospital.

She was on the stroke unit for seven weeks and five days, but the team believe she could have gone home even sooner if a machine similar to the one donated had been available.

Stroke survivor Naomi Wentzell inspired the new machine which will help with patients’ recovery.

She added: “I was so stubborn and wasn’t going to be beaten by the stroke. When I left I was able to walk out and I was talking. It just took a while to get my strength back.”

Naomi now volunteers on the stroke unit for the Stroke Association, talking to other patients and helping to reassure and advise them.

Friends of Lincoln Hospitals Association and United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust’s Charitable Funds have made the donation.

It can also record and play back images to help with therapy and training.

Physiotherapist Alwyn Sproul from United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust says the new machine is going to help patients in their recovery.

She said: “By having this new machine on the stroke unit it will improve outcomes, reduce length of stay and improve quality of life for our patients. It really is going to make a huge difference to patients.

“This impacts on more than just swallowing. Patients are able to participate in other rehabilitation, for example with the occupational therapists and physiotherapists more easily if they are not tethered to a feeding tube and a drip. Thank you to everybody who has made this possible. We are so grateful to have this very special machine.”