South Florida stroke survivor speaks out after recovering

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Kimberly San Martin had her daily routine down to a science until her world was turned upside down after she underwent a medical emergency.

It was only three months ago when 23-year-old Martin was in the middle of having a stroke while attending a workout class.

She said dizziness took over and became unbearable.

“To be honest, I went blank,” said Martin.

Fortunately, her fitness instructor was also a paramedic and knew the signs and what symptoms to look for.

“He looks at me and he’s like, ‘Are you OK?’ I said, ‘I feel dizzy.’ He was like, ‘OK, take a step back,'” said Martin. “The moment that I take a step back, I look back at him and I could only see half of his body.”

She was rushed to Baptist Hospital of Miami, where Dr. Guilherme Dabus from the Neuroscience Center treated and diagnosed the 23-year-old with a stroke.

“We took her directly through our stroke protocol, our stroke process,” said Dabus. “She goes immediately to the CAT scan. A CTA is performed.”

May is National Stroke Awareness month, highlighting the importance of knowing the signs and symptoms of strokes.

Signs and symptoms Martin never thought she’d have to know for herself, especially at such a young age.

“This can happen to anybody at any age. I’m only 23. I had no prior health conditions that would have made me more prone to having a stroke,” said Martin.

Doctors said always remember to act fast if you see someone’s face drooping, their arms weakened and their speech is difficult to understand. They’re probably experiencing a stroke, so call 911 immediately.

“Time matters. The faster the patient can get to the hospital and be treated, the greater the chance of them doing well,” said Dabus.

Luckily for Martin, Baptist Hospital is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and equipment to quickly treat strokes.

“I would say Baptist Hospital saved my life,” said Martin.

Now, just a few months later, Martin is driving again and undergoing therapy to recover.

The 23-year-old also has a new lease on life and a stroke of insight after her medical emergency.

“I was very stressed and now I look at life in a completely different way,” said Martin.

Doctors at Baptist Hospital said about 80 percent of all strokes are preventable by knowing exactly what to look for and responding quickly.

Eighty-seven percent of all strokes are caused by a lack of blood flow to the brain.

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