Stroke victim saved by smart phone, smart fiancée

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on June 1, 2012 at 5:30 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 8 at 7:07 PM

DALLAS - Diane McPeters and David O'Neal are lucky to have a future to toast.

Two weeks ago, Diane awoke feeling terrible. After hours of flat-out refusal to see a doctor, her fiancee, David, took cell phone video documenting her symptoms, just in case.

Both suspected blood pressure medications were causing her numbness, slurred speech, and drooping mouth. Neither, at the time, suspected a stroke.

"Thirty minutes after I took [the video], I said, 'Forget it, we're going.'"

At Medical Center of Plano, Diane was diagnosed with a massive stroke.

Dr. Vallabh Janardhan, an interventional neurologist, says the cell phone video was critical to deciding treatment.

"It gave us a clear understanding of when the stroke started," Janardhan said. "And since brain attacks [are] a time sensitive disease and every minute, 1.9 million brain cells are dying, it is crucial to know when it started."

Every 45 seconds, someone will experience a stroke.

Most people think the effects are sudden, but experts say the symptoms are often slow and progressive. Sometimes people, like Diane, can appear to get better.

When it comes to stroke, the window of opportunity for various treatments ranges from two to eight hours.

"Whenever we are not sure when a stroke started, it's kind of hard to use time-sensitive therapies in that patient, because there can be negative consequences," Janardhan said.

Because of the time stamp on the cell phone video, doctors knew they could use time sensitive new technology to open the vessel and pull the potentially deadly clot from her brain.

"She would have most likely not been able to communicate with family members and be dependent for life [if she hadn't gone for treatment,]" Janardhan said. "That would have been the most likely scenario for her."

"I think I'm a miracle patient," Diane said. "I think I am the luckiest person in the world."

Lucky to have smart medical technology, a smart phone, and a smart fiancee, who saved her life.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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