New Stroke Indicator Can Help Save Lives – Fiction!

New Stroke Indicator Can Help Save Lives – Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:
A viral email claims that pricking a stroke victim’s fingers with a needle can indicate whether or not they are having a stroke and can reverse the effects of a stroke.
The Truth:
Claims made in this email about new indicators for strokes are false, and following the instructions could jeopardize a stroke victim’s life.
The email, which first circulated in 2006, says to prick the fingers of a person who may be having a stroke with a needle until they regain consciousness. If they don’t come to after several minutes, the email suggests pulling on their ears and poking each ear lobe with a needle:

“After a few minutes the victim should regain consciousness. Wait till the victim regains his normal state without any abnormal symptoms then take him to the hospital. Otherwise, if he was taken in the ambulance in a hurry to the hospital, the bumpy trip will cause all the capillaries in his brain to burst. If he could save his life, barely managing to walk, then it is by the grace of his ancestors.”

Dr. Steven Novella debunked the claims in a blog post that said, “Pricking the fingers or earlobes would cause (thankfully) a negligible amount of bleeding and would not in any way affect the stroke victim’s hemodynamics. And if it did, that would just worsen the stroke by decreasing brain perfusion and oxygen delivery.”
Pricking the fingertips of a stroke victim and waiting for them to regain consciousness, as the eRumor suggests, would also delay critical medical attention. Dr. Barbara Goodwin, of the Cayuga Medical Center, said:

“There is a saying in the medical community that ‘time is brain’ when it comes to treating stroke because the longer the brain is without sufficient oxygen, the more damaging a stroke will be. Immediate recognition of stroke symptoms and transportation to the emergency department within two hours of the onset of symptoms can make a tremendous difference for someone who has suffered a stroke.

“…The easiest way to remember the symptoms of stroke is to use the acronym ‘FAST,’ which stands for face, arms, speech and time. Look at the person’s face, look for weakness on one side of the body, especially the arms, and ask him or her to speak to you. Then act quickly to seek emergency medical attention.”

The eRumor also says a stroke victim should be taken to the hospital after they regain consciousness, which is awful advice. Dr. Goodwin says that it’s important for stroke victims to remain lying down, preferably on their side, while they wait for an ambulance to arrive. researched a prevous eRumor about stroke indicators. Click here to read that story.