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Sara S.


The Heart Break of an Afib Stroke By Sara Stearns CMAA, MA

Four months ago my husband received a call nobody should receive. It was his cousin calling to tell us that his mother had a stroke and was on the way to the hospital via ambulance. She was walking across the room with a glass of water when the stroke started. We all went to the hospital and my husband and I went to see her. At first they told us that they were not sure exactly what happened until they took her to Ct to have a scan of her head. She suffered a massive Afib stroke that destroyed the left half of her brain. We agreed to give her tPA to hopefully bust up the clot, and we agreed to have her sent to OHSU in Portland, Oregon. The stroke team up there was hopeful and thought they could successfully remove the clot in her Carotid artery. But, when they tried to it actually pushed the clot up and caused a massive brain bleed.

We were then faced with the most difficult and heartbreaking decision anyone should have to face. Do we leave her on the vent and put her in a care facility or do we let her go because she wouldn't have any quality of life. We chose to take her off life support and let her pass away peacefully. And at that point her exams were that of someone who brain was dead.

The neurologist said that if she had Coumadin she more than likely would have survived and that the stroke wouldn't have been so severe. But, her husband left her without a word and didn't contact her ever. So she had no money, no insurance, and had to live with family. I tried so hard to get her medical care but she didn't qualify they said.

Patricia Ibarra was 60 years old; she was a nurse, a mother, a grandmother, and my best friend. She didn't want much all she wanted was to live to see our son graduate.
I hope her story may help someone else and perhaps save their life. She would have wanted to help others.


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Display of the Faces of Stroke stories does not imply National Stroke Association's endorsement of any product, treatment, service or entity. National Stroke Association strongly recommends that people ask a healthcare professional about diagnosis and treatment questions before using any product, treatment or service. The views expressed through the stories reflect those of the authors and do not reflect the opinion of National Stroke Association.

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