Woman records herself having a stroke after doctors didn’t believe her the first time

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(CNN) – It’s not your usual selfie.

“The sensation is happening again,” Stacey Yepes tells the camera. “It’s all tingling on left side.”

“I don’t know why this is happening to me.”

The Toronto-area woman was having her third stroke in three days. And this time, she refused to suffer in private.

Yepes recorded a selfie video of her symptoms after pulling over while driving. The next day, the video would help doctors at Toronto Western Hospital correctly diagnose her with transient ischemic attacks, or “mini-strokes,” due to plaque buildup in her arteries.

Now, according to Yepes, she is on cholesterol-lowering medication and blood thinners, and hasn’t had any more strokes.

The video may have saved her life.

Two days before the recording, doctors at a local emergency room in Toronto dismissed her face numbness and slurred speech as stress-related. They told her stroke tests had come back negative and counseled the 49-year-old legal secretary on breathing techniques.

Those were ineffective, and Yepes suffered two additional mini-strokes in consecutive days — the first leaving the hospital parking lot on April 1.

She knew something had to be done.

“I think it was just to show somebody, because I knew it was not stress-related,” she said in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. “And I thought if I could show somebody what was happening, they would have a better understanding.”

That was exactly what happened. Yepes filmed the third “mini-stroke” the next day en route to work. After arriving, she showed the video to co-workers, who immediately suggested she go to a different hospital.

Still, Dr. Markku Kaste with the World Stroke Organization said he believes Yepes was lucky.

His advice: “Don’t waste time on a video, just call 911.”

He 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.”

Kaste and his organization are working on an upcoming campaign targeting women and their likelihood for strokes.

According to the National Stroke Organization, 55,000 women have strokes each year.

As in Yepes’ case, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said signs of stroke generally include sudden numbness, confusion and difficulty walking.

The American Stroke Association uses the acronym F.A.S.T — meaning face dropping, arm weakness and speech difficulty are all signs that it’s time to call 911.

Usually, paramedics, emergency responders and doctors correctly identify the situation and will get individuals the help they need.

“It’s hard to say why there was an incorrect diagnosis (initially), but things like that can happen,” Kaste said. “Still, the quicker you are to the hospital, the higher the likelihood of a good outcome.”


  • Rachel Humphrey

    The doctors can say what the hell they want but if you go to the Hospital and they tell you to relax and you have another and they say the same thing what the hell else CAN you do but video it. To proove what your saying in hope you at least LIVE through the Video to show someone so you can be fixed by the Dr. who are supposed to know. But are prob. spending more time partying in collage than learning.

  • alesa. butler

    Love that reply this is why I don’t like doctors. They think they know more about you then you know about yourself they say listen to your own self you know your body and you know when something is wrong now when are doctors going to lessen to there patients in stead of letting it on in one ear pat your shoulder and out there front door saying everything is OK when you know what your body is saying something else Dr stop parting in college and start learning what your parents are telling you or do they even teach that in class ?

  • Lin

    sad that the real killer is the high cholesterol and plaque buildup in her arteries. doctors are so quick to prescribe statins instead of telling their patients to lose weight and eat better.

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