Young man can’t speak, walk or take care of himself because doctors took his headache and sensitivity to noise symptoms for granted, even though he’d had a serious stroke and barely survived, girlfriend speaks out

A young man’s life completely changed and he is now unable to speak, walk or take care of himself after he’d had a serious stroke and barely survived in April last year. Speaking to Insider a year after the incident, the girlfriend who brought him to the hospital blames doctors because they failed to treat him properly as he was diagnosed with migraine and sent home even though it was later discovered he suffered serious stroke.

A year after the incident, the 21-year-old X. Ortiz is left in the care of his family and his girlfriend decided to share the story in an effort to raise awareness and hopefully prevent similar incidents in the future. According to the story, the then 20-year-old Ortiz was completely healthy with no prior medical history when he experienced the first headache and sensitivity to noise symptoms. Not worrying at all, he suppressed his discomfort enough to play basketball with his friends.

That day his girlfriend Natasha was with him and witnessed Ortiz complaining of a severe headache, light sensitivity, blurry vision, dizziness, and numbness on one side of his body. His friends, some of them nurses, urged him to immediately go to hospital after noticing Ortiz’s drifting eye.

“He wanted all the lights off. He was covering his eyes. He was like, ‘My head’s killing me,'” Natasha said to Insider.

Soon after arriving to a local clinic, Ortiz described all the symptoms to the doctor who examined him and Ortiz was given an IV, pain meds and sent home for treatment after the doctor diagnosed him with migraine. While he was in the emergency room, Ortiz’s mother arrived and she helped Natasha carrying Ortiz to the car as he could barely walk.

They all went home, but Ortiz’s headache and seizures didn’t stop during the night. The next day Natasha called an ambulance but said the EMTs didn’t share her urgency. One said, “it’s probably just a cold,'” Natasha recalls. When he was finally transferred to hospital, doctors blamed potential drugs usage, alcohol or the Covid-19 vaccine for his symptoms, but none applied since the young man had never used drugs or alcohol and he was not vaccinated against Covid-19. Everything changed the next day when a second neurologist looked at Ortiz’s brain scans, and the family learned he’d had a serious stroke and had only a 3% chance of survival.

The hospitals had missed their window to operate on the clot, which was in his brain stem, Ortiz’s mother said a neurological surgeon told them later.

The diagnosis is “not something you expect to hear. It sends chills up and down your spine,” Ortiz’s mother said. “I think we all lived in this dark cloud and thinking that this is a nightmare we couldn’t wake up from,” she added.

Ortiz was in a medical induced coma for several weeks, but his treatment will be a long journey. While he is fully cognitively aware of what’s going on, he is unable to speak, walk or take care of himself. Ortiz continues to undergo speech therapy and is enrolling in aquatic and music therapy.

About 10% of strokes occur in people younger than 50, and the risk goes down the younger you are, Dr. Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, the president of the American Heart Association, previously told Insider.

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