First published by Nine News on Sunday 17 September 2017

Victorian stroke victims now have a better chance of survival with a new clot busting service saving more patients than ever.

Monash Medical Centre has joined the Royal Melbourne Hospital as the state’s only 24/7 Endovascular Clot Retrieval hospitals.

It means that no matter where someone has had a stroke, from Glen Waverly to Gippsland, they can be transported direct to Melbourne for rapid care.

The clot retrieval team at Monash is on track to treat around 140 stroke victims this year, a figure almost triple the patients seen in 2016.

Dulcie Cheesman, 73, was rushed from 85km from Warragul to Monash Medical Centre’s new specialist stroke service with a huge blood clot lodged in her brain in May.

“Once you block off the blood vessel and block that part of the brain neurons start dying,” Dr Lee-Ann Slater, an interventional neuroradiologist from Monash Health, said.

Just five minutes after Ms Cheesman arrived at the centre, a stent was quickly to relieve the blockage and the clot was removed within half an hour.

“I remember him saying ‘we got it out’,” Ms Cheesman said.

“I know that I’m a very very lucky lady.”

Just six weeks after her near-death experience, the 73-year-old travelled to Queensland for her grandson’s birthday, stunning family and friends with her recovery.

“When I told them what the doctors said, that it was huge, they couldn’t believe it,” she said.

Dr Slater said patients like Ms Cheeman made the tireless work at the centre “worthwhile”.