A passion for how the brain operates was an early calling for St George Hospital’s new head of neurology, Louise Allport.
I tell medical students that neurology is like the CSI of medicine. It's incredibly complex.Dr Louise Allport
Dr Allport, 47, said the time spent as a child with her father, a fellow doctor, captured her love of medicine and a targeted interest in understanding stroke.
“I was fascinated by the anatomy of the nervous system from a young age,” Dr Allport said.
“It’s a specialty that can be likened to putting pieces of a puzzle together.
“We can’t access the brain as an organ very easily so I tell medical students that neurology is like the CSI of medicine – it’s incredibly complex.”
St George Hospital has one of the busiest stroke units in NSW.
Dr Allport recently won the hospital’s outstanding leadership award for her work in making positive changes in the department’s operations, and supervising and training young doctors.
She has been a staff specialist at the hospital since 2007, and was appointed head of neurology last year.
One of her greatest achievements has been the introduction of an active thrombolysis service which she set up in 2007 as part of the existing stroke service.
“It’s incredibly rewarding to see people who have been absolutely devastated by stroke, to having blood flow restored to their brain,” Dr Allport said.
“Some of the best outcomes I’ve seen are among older folk who have lived full and wonderful lives only to be struck down by stroke at the end, but then to give them back their quality of life.”
She says stroke can affect all ages.
“We also look after people in their late teens,” Dr Allport said.
“They can be more in need of life saving therapies and surgical intervention.
“Where difficulties arise is the level of uncertainty of diagnosis and embarking on treatment.”
The level of funding however, has been strong, she said.
“There’s been lots of investment in addressing stroke because it is such a devastating illness,” she said.
“The window of intervention is growing.”