Stroke victim Stacey Yepes’ “selfie” was more than self-serving, it was potentially life-saving.
According to CNN.com, Toronto resident Yepes was driving to work when she felt a tingling sensation on the left side of her body. “The sensation is happening again,” she told CNN, “I don’t know why this is happening to me.” Yet, Yepes had a good idea what was happening.
Two days before, on March 31, Yepes went to a local emergency room with the same tingling sensation, as well as slurred speech and the inability to lift her left arm while at home. Doctors ran stroke tests, which found nothing. Doctors then informed her the symptoms were stress-related, and was shown relaxing breathing techniques. As she left the hospital parking lot, she felt the tingling sensation again, but waited for this episode to subside, then drove home.
The next day, April 1, went without incident. The following day, when the tingling reappeared for the third time in three days, Yepes decided to take matters into her own hands. She pulled her car over and began taking a video of herself on her cell phone, so she could show doctors what she was going through. The tingling partially subsided, and Yepes was then able to drive to the Mount Sinai Hospital emergency room, who then immediately referred her to the Toronto Western Hospital Stroke Unit for assistance, according to the Huffington Post.
Based on new tests, and including the selfie she had created, doctors were able to determine she was having a series of mini-strokes, or transient ischemic attacks, or TIA. Doctors feel the TIA’s were caused by blood clots. Doctors then prescribed blood thinners and cholesterol-lowering medication for Yepes, who claims she has had no further episodes.
Though doctors were amazed at Yepes’ ability to record herself while having a TIA, medical staff still recommend going immediately to an emergency room for assistance. Dr. Markku Kaste of the World Stroke Organization said, “It’s the same thing for everyone. If you’re having a stroke, think you’re having a stroke or see someone having one — just call 911.” Dr. Kaste also said “It’s hard to say why there was an incorrect diagnosis (initially), but things like that can happen. Still, the quicker you are to the hospital, the higher the likelihood of a good outcome.”
The American Stroke Association has adopted the acronym FAST to help with recognizing if you or another person who may be having a stroke; Face drooping, Arm hanging, Slurred speech, then it’s Time to call 911. And, to save time, no pictures, please.