A Canadian woman only had her stroke diagnosed due to posting a selfie while suffering from the symptoms. It is a case of doctors misdiagnosing in a dangerous way, after they initially claimed that she was just stressed. Luckily technology saved the day.
Stacey Yepes has suffered with symptoms for three days. The first time she went straight to her local Toronto emergency room, still suffering from numbness in the face and slurred speech. The doctors believed she was suffering from stress, especially when her stroke tests came back negative. Instead of doing any further tests, the doctors offered tips on breathing to help reduce her stress.
Over the next two days, she had two further strokes. With the third one, she decided it was time to let everyone else know and took a video explaining all the symptoms. It would be the video that would show doctors exactly what she was struggling with, and it indicated a stroke. The doctors have concluded that she was suffering from mini versions, called transient ischemic attacks (TIA). They happened due to a buildup of plaque within her arteries, meaning that the blood could not flow properly to her brain.
According to the Stroke Association, the TIAs are warnings that all patients should take seriously. Like other strokes, they appear due to clots, but the clots are only temporary. They do not usually lead to permanent injury to the brain. However, the clots could end up being permanent and lead to the more serious and lasting medical condition. It is possible that the video selfie has saved Yepes’ life due to getting the correct stroke diagnosis. One third of TIA sufferers go on to have a full stroke within a year of the initial symptoms on average.
The symptoms are very similar for TIAs and full strokes. The acronym FAST is usually used to help people remember the most common symptoms to look out for. The acronym stands for Face, Arms, Speech and Time.
The face drooping on one side is one of the first symptoms usually noticed visually, but a numbness in the area can be felt by the patient. The drooping face is usually spotted when someone attempts to smile. This can also cause a problem with the speech, which is often slurred or a patient may not even be able to talk.
Lifting one or both arms can also be an issue for those suffering from this type of medical condition. A patient may complain of a numbness in the arms, or a feeling of weakness.
The T—Time—is more about how quickly someone should act. It is important for a patient to receive immediate medical attention to set up a treatment plan and limit the amount of damage the condition does. Unfortunately, it is clear that this is not always good enough. Yepes tried this and she was misdiagnosed with stress.
It is not completely the doctors’ faults. TIA symptoms can last just a minute, so getting a diagnosis can be difficult. She was smart enough to think about filming the symptoms, though. Her stroke diagnosis happened due to the video selfie while experiencing the symptoms.
By Alexandria Ingham