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Chile: strokes and the earthquake
  1. Pablo M Lavados
  1. Correspondence to Professor P M Lavados, Professor of Neurology, Director Cerebrovascular Program and Stroke Unit, Neurology Service, Department of Medicine, Clínica Alemana de Santiago, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad del Desarrollo and Department of Neurological Sciences, Universidad de Chile, Institute of Neurosurgery, Santiago, Chile; pablolavados{at}yahoo.com

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Ester is my only aunt on my father's side. She is a 78-year-old diabetic, hypertensive widow who has lived most of her life in Talca, the capital city of the Maule region of Chile, this name coming from that of its main river.

On the morning of 4 March 2010 while in Santiago she woke up with a severe left hemiplegia and was taken to El Salvador Hospital were a CT scan showed a large lacunar infarct in the right corona radiata. This happened 6 days after Saturday, 27 February 2010, the last weekend of the summer, when my wife and I and our three children had come home late from a barbecue at the house of a dear colleague (dedicated to peripheral neurology). Like us, many Chileans had been enjoying the sun and beaches before March when the weather usually deteriorates. Then, at 03:37, it started, and was very strong from the beginning. Luckily we live in a one storey house so we had no stairs to run down (or up). We jumped out …

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