Twitter diagnosis saves man from paralysis

July 8, 2010 | by | 1 Comment

A businessman saved himself from permanent paralysis after getting his rare medical condition diagnosed – on TWITTER.

Website designer Patrick Johnson, 26, woke up to discover that half his face had gone numb and was drooping.

But immediately tweeted his symptoms – and moments later received a message back identifying his condition.

Marj Beattie, who runs an online secretarial business in Scotland, correctly diagnosed Bell’s palsy.

She urged Patrick to get to the hospital quickly and within 40 minutes he was being treated for the condition – saving his face from long term damage.

Patrick noticed his face was drooping when he looked in the mirror at his home in Redruth, Cornwall, on Tuesday.

He then tweeted to his 347 followers: ”I feel like I’ve had a stroke. Half of my face doesn’t work properly.”

Marj then replied: ”If you are truly serious, get to the doc – Bells palsy facial symptoms mimic a stroke.”

Patrick now expects to make a full recovery from the condition after receiving treatment.

He said: ”On Tuesday morning I woke up with a partially paralysed face. I didn’t notice for a few hours and by the time I did I was sitting in front of my computer with a coffee.

”I thought little of it and probably would have headed for the doctor after a few days if nothing had changed.

”But then I had a response from Marj. They say the first 72 hours is crucial in making a full recovery. Thankfully I took Marj’s advice.”

Ms Beattie, of Old Kilpatrick near Glasgow, said: ”I know about Bells palsy because one of my friends was diagnosed with it a few years ago. He thought he had had a stroke and it was very debilitating.

”I also knew that if you caught I early enough it could be treated but if you left it there was a permanent chance of disfigurement.

”A couple of hours later, I got a message from Patrick that he had been diagnosed with Bell’s palsy and he wouldn’t have even gone to the hospital had it not been for the info I gave him.”

Bells palsy results in the inability to control muscles on the affected side of the face.

It is characterised by facial drooping on the affected half due to malfunction of the nerve that controls the muscles.

Treatment within three days of the onset is necessary for therapy to be effective.

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  1. Pog says:

    About 95% of people who develop Bell’s palsy spontaneously recover. That number is not changed by any treatment. The only thing the ‘treatment’ does is possibly hasten the recovery.

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