10-year-old Sask. girl helps save grandmother's life

A Saskatchewan woman’s granddaughter is being recognized for helping save her life and minimizing the effects of stroke after she called 911.

Marleen Conacher, her son and two granddaughters were preparing for a movie night at home when she began feeling a bit off.

She said her mind went blank then it came back, then she started losing feeling in her arms, fell and the rest is blurry.

“There was no pain or nothing, it was just frustration and maybe a bit of emptiness in my head,” she told CTV News.

Conacher’s granddaughter Meaka Star, who was 10 years old at the time, checked on her and noticed that something wasn’t right, so she called on her dad who then instructed her to call 911.

“She was acting all weird and stuff, like what is happening? So, I was so confused,” Meaka said.

Conacher was taken to a hospital in North Battleford then to Saskatoon where she stayed overnight and gained back her consciousness then was let out the next day.

A few days later, Conacher had another stroke but Meaka said this time she knew the signs and was able to react quicker.

FAST is an acronym used to identify signs of a stroke. It stands for face, arms, speech and time. If a person’s face is dropping, if they can’t raise both arms and if their speech is slurred or jumbled, it’s time to call 911 right away, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

“The first stroke that she had, it was very confusing and I didn’t know what to do. But then the second time, the stroke was happening and I knew what to do and I remembered FAST,” Meaka said.

Meaka’s fast thinking got her recognized at her school in Turtleford on Thursday by WestMed Paramedics and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Allan Schneider, a primary care paramedic with WestMed, said their story also highlights the importance of calling 911 and not just going to the closest hospital, but the hospital that has the right tools.

He said once paramedics determine that it is a stroke, special screenings like CT scans are needed.

“A stroke is a stroke and the faster you can get them to the right hospital for intervention of care then the better off the outcomes are,” Schneider said.

“We call the stroke alert to the incoming hospitals and they have everything ready. So, time is of the essence.”

WestMed intermediate care paramedic Jennifer Larre added that once a hospital is alerted of an incoming stroke patient, the CT scanner room is cleared out so that the patient can be brought in right away.

“The doctors and nurses are waiting to do their assessment and they get that CT done, get the results as well as starting IVs to prepare to give treatment as soon as they possibly can,” she said.

Conacher said she is grateful for that system and her granddaughter’s swift actions.

“My life was saved and at the very least, I’m not in a wheelchair or I’m not in a home where I have to be looked after because of the speed that I got to for help.”