Sometimes a seemingly inconsequential choice can mean the difference between life and death. For Dan Magennis, this choice was deciding to call Comcast before starting his yard work.
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The 65 year old from Walker, Michigan, knows if he hadn’t placed that call, he might not be here today. All he wanted was help fixing an issue with his cable. What he got instead was his own personal savior – from 800 miles away.
Dan called the company in August, hoping to “get it over with” quickly so he could focus on his backyard. But as soon as he connected with Kimberly Williams, a customer service representative in Jackson, Mississippi, he found he couldn’t speak. It wasn’t nerves. Dan physically could not get a word out after stating his name. Then his right leg went numb.
He began panicking and dropped the phone. “I would try to say something, and I just couldn’t. I couldn’t move,” Dan said. “Within 20-30 seconds, I started to think maybe it was a stroke, but I wasn’t able to tell the representative that.”
But Kimberly already knew something was wrong. Slurred speech was something she’d become familiar with as a teenager when she witnessed her grandmother suffering a stroke. She also knew every second counted.
She immediately began a Google search of first responders in Dan’s area. Several calls later, she got in touch with the Walker Fire Department and stayed on the line with Dan for five minutes before paramedics arrived.
Not even an hour after the call was placed, Dan was in surgery at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital to correct the clogged artery that caused his stroke. Two days later, he walked out of the hospital with almost no lingering effects. Dr. Justin Singer, director of vascular neurosurgery at Spectrum Health, says things would have turned out very differently if not for Kimberly’s quick response.
Singer said without the almost immediate help, the best outcome was partial-body paralysis and loss of communication that would have required the care of a nursing home. The worst outcome: brain swelling and probable death.
Dan says he’ll be eternally grateful that Kimberly, whom he’s never met, didn’t hang up. She’s the reason he’s still walking, speaking, and living independently. And he’ll never forget it.
Learn more about the woman who saved a man from hundreds of miles away in the video below and share as a reminder to others to always watch out for signs of a stroke. It could save someone’s life.
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