Woman Selfies Her Stroke to Show Doctors She Wasn't Just 'Stressed'

A Canadian woman recorded herself having a stroke, hoping it would help prove to doctors that her symptoms were not just a result of stress.


Stacey Yerpes began recording herself the moment she felt a tingling sensation while she was driving. She turned on her phone's video camera and described exactly what she was feeling, while the camera recorded everything.

No, she wasn't doing this to become the next contestant on Viral Video Starmakers! She needed to film her stroke to prove it was happening to her doctors. Yerpes had recently visited a hospital but was told her symptoms were simply a result of stress:

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."


She was told it was just stress, she left the hospital and then had two more strokes. That is absolutely terrifying and frustrating. It's like being shipwrecked on a deserted island and seeing a cruise ship sail by that won't stop to pick you up because you didn't make a reservation.

We've all been there. You live with your body 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You know its little ticks and quirks. You know when there is something wrong with you. Having a doctor misdiagnose something despite your insistence that it might be something else is maddening. You feel like one of those people in a horror movie, dragged off to the insane asylum because you're the only one who can see the demons lurking in the shadows. Everyone thinks you're crazy and pretty soon you start to believe it.


Is this really what we have to do now to convince doctors that we're sick? Do we have to actually film ourselves in the middle of dangerous health episodes to get people to take us seriously? What in the actual fuck.

Luckily, Yerpes finally got the correct diagnosis:

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.


It's also important to reiterate what one doctor told CNN. "Don't waste time on a video, just call 911," said Dr. Marku Kaste with the World Stroke Organization. "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."

Good advice for everyone.



I think it's worth pointing out that women are consistently told their medical issues are less serious than those of men. Women are significantly less likely to receive medication for pain from a doctor, and are more likely to be told it's a psychological issue. Cool.