By Kim O’Hare
During a barbecue, one of the guests stumbled and took a little fall. Her hosts offered to call an ambulance, but she assured everyone that she was fine and had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes.
They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, she went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening.
Shortly after the party ended, the lady’s husband called to telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital. She died a few hours later.
The barbecue guest had suffered a stroke. Had her friends known how to identify the signs, she may still have been with us today. Some stroke victims don’t die, of course, but many also end up in helpless, hopeless condition with severe brain damage.
A top neurologist has said that if he can get to a stroke victim within three hours, he can minimise or even totally reverse the effects. The trick is getting a stroke recognised, diagnosed and getting the patient the appropriate medical treatment within those three vital hours.
So how do you recognise if someone has suffered a stroke? Remember the first three letters of the word - STRoke. Just ask the person three simple questions:
S: Ask the individual to SMILE .
T: TALK. Ask the person to speak a simple sentence coherently. For example: “It is sunny outside today.”
R: Ask him or her to RAISE both arms.
If he or she has trouble with any one of these tasks, call an ambulance immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.
Another sign of a possible stroke is a “crooked” tongue. Ask the person to stick out their tongue - if it’s not straight, again seek medical advice without delay.