A paramedic from Connecticut had luck on his side in late November when he suddenly became a patient while riding in his own ambulance.
Chris Cabral, an EMT with Aetna in Hartford, was behind the wheel of his ambulance when his longtime partner Ray Berwick, noticed something was amiss.
“He looked at me and said, ‘What’s wrong with you?’… I had no idea,” Cabral told FOX 61.
As Cabral would later find out, he was experiencing a stroke caused by a clot near his carotid artery that blocked blood flow to his brain. Berwick quickly went into action by taking control of the vehicle and heading straight to Hartford Hospital.
“He recognized something wasn’t right,” Cabral told WTKR of Berwick. “I was inches away from dying and my partner saved my life.”
Strokes kill about 140,000 Americans each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and on average, someone in the United States will experience one every 40 seconds.
While age increases the likelihood of some suffering a stroke, it can happen at any age. Recent reports from the organization point to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and diabetes as being primary factors in people experiencing strokes.
Cabral is now recovering after his stay in the hospital and is looking to return to ambulance service next year. He credits his partner with saving his life.
“If I was home alone I wouldn’t have known anything was wrong,” Cabral admitted. “That’s the crazy part.”
According to the CDC, people can recognize stroke signs by looking out for droopiness in a victim’s smile, difficulty raising their arms above their heads and slurred words while repeating a simple sentence. If they do exhibit these symptoms, it’s important to call emergency services right away… if you aren’t already in an ambulance, that is.
“What better place to have a stroke than an ambulance,” Berwick told FOX 61 of his partner’s luck. “Just seeing him walking around… it’s awesome.”
Cabral couldn’t agree more.
“It is a true miracle,” he said. “There aren’t words to describe how grateful I am to everybody.”