Stroke survivor reunites with off-duty doctor who saved his life

Posted: 11:19 AM, Jun 30, 2014
Updated: 2014-06-30 12:09:47-04

NEW YORK (PIX11) – Fate was on the side of a 66-year-old parking garage attendant who suffered a stroke while on the job.

Errol Mair was working at the garage near 63rd Street and York Avenue about two months ago when he starting feeling sick.

Dr. Louis Aronne, the same physician who caught David Letterman’s deadly heart condition, frequents the garage and was walking back to his car when Mair’s manager came running toward him.

“I could see in an instant that something was wrong with him,” Aronne told PIX11 News Monday.

The doctor noticed that Mair was exhibiting signs of a stroke. It takes just minutes for an untreated stroke to start killing a patient’s brain cells.

Aronne called 911, but an emergency dispatcher said it could be up to 20 minutes before help arrived. He knew that was far too long to wait.

So he took matters into his own hands, loading Mair into his car and personally driving him to a hospital a few blocks away.

Doctors said if he had waited any longer, Mair – who is recovering well – could have suffered speech disability and paralysis.

There are two main types of stroke, according to NewYork-Presbyterian:

  • Hemorrhagic, or bleeding stroke, happens when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, causing blood to leak into brain tissue. This type of stroke is less common, making up about 15 to 20 percent of all cases.
  • Ischemic stroke is more common and occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted or severely decreased due to a blocked blood vessel.

Using the acronym FAST can help you remember some quick exercises that could uncover stroke warning signs:

  • Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
  • Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
  • Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately.