Most people wouldn’t want to have a health scare while they’re on the job, but that’s exactly what happened to Chris Cabral, and it might be the only reason he’s still standing today.
Cabral and his partner Ray Berwick, Aetna Ambulance Emergency Medical Technicians, were out in their ambulance and Cabral was driving. When Cabral made a left turn, Berwick noticed something was a little off.
One of his arms didn’t seem to be cooperating and half of his face was drooping. Cabral didn’t even realize anything was happening, but Berwick knew what those signs meant.
“He looked at me and said ‘What’s wrong with you?’… I had no idea,” Cabral said.
Berwick rushed Cabral to the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Hartford Hospital, getting him there in record time. It only took 30 minutes from noticing the stroke to Cabral getting medication, and within an hour he was in surgery.
Many people don’t realize they’re having a stroke, and with no one around to recognize the signs or help them, they can die or become seriously impaired because of how long it takes to get help.
Cabral acknowledged this, saying that “If I was home alone I wouldn’t have known anything was wrong. That’s the crazy part.”
They discovered that there was a blood clot near Cabral’s carotid artery that was causing the problems. Without immediate attention, he could have died.
This all happened a month ago, and Cabral is now walking and talking — you wouldn’t know anything had happened if it weren’t for the story he tells.
“What better place to have a stroke than an ambulance. Just seeing him walking around…it’s awesome,” Berwick said.
While Cabral is still in physical therapy, he’s well on his way to recovery and plans to be back at Berwick’s side by March or April next year.
The quick actions of the EMT were recognized in a ceremony where the president of the hospital reiterated the importance of the role of a first responder.
“It is a true miracle,” Cabral said. “There aren’t words to describe how grateful I am to everybody.”
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