The Stroke Association is doing a bit of an awareness push; apparently lots and lots of people with stroke symptoms would wait for a day before seeking medical attention. I can understand that; lots of people don’t particularly like being poked and prodded; lots of people fear hearing the worst and lots of people don’t want to bother a doctor with something that they think is probably trivial1. So they wait a day (or two) until they’re sure that the symptoms aren’t going away, and by then a lot of damage has been done.
So I can understand it, and it’s probably a good thing that such awareness is put out into the public consciousness. That said, on hearing their case, I was a put in mind of a quote from a very quotable source.
The Stroke Association:
People would respond more quickly to losing a bankcard than suffering the symptoms of a stroke, a survey says.
The Stroke Association poll of 2,000 people suggests 88% would react immediately if they lost a bank card.
This compared with 34% of people it suggested would wait 24 hours if they experienced facial or arm weakness and speech problems – symptoms of a stroke.
I think that sick people in Ankh-Morpork generally go to a vet. It’s generally a better bet. There’s more pressure on a vet to get it right. People say “it was god’s will” when granny dies, but they get angry when they lose a cow.
Which was, back when I first read it (or something like it, in Feet of Clay) one of those great “Oh yeah” moments2, because it’s so bleeding obvious when you see it. People always seem more resigned to losing health (happens to us all, y’see, the survival rate for everyone dropping to 0% on any sufficiently long time-scale), while people really don’t like losing money. And, of course, there’s also the fact that health is easier to come by if you have money, while the reverse isn’t necessarily the case…
1 – Of course, for a significant minority, exactly the opposite is true. Medicine having seemingly been invented just to prove the 80-20 rule.
2 – Explaining why such quotes pop into my head with distressing regularity upon hearing news stories of a morning…