‘I would’ve died’: Man who had stroke in London street looking for ‘guardian angel’ who saved him

Passersby noticed signs of stroke

Matt Mathers@MattEm90
Saturday 19 June 2021 19:49

Related: Stroke survivors talk about the experiences

A man who collapsed on a London street after suffering a stroke is now hoping to track down the “guardian angel” who saved his life.

Mathew O’Toole, 47, was working in the capital when he suffered the medical episode outside Ole & Steen on Wigmore Street at 8.30am on 10 June.

He was sat on a bench when he began vomiting and sweating.

His wife, Georgina, 44, shared a Twitter thread hoping to track down the woman who stopped to help.

She wrote: “He started vomiting. Many people passed by. Many probably assumed that he was drunk or hungover. One lady stopped.

“She recognised the signs of a stroke, called the paramedics, and directed them to take him straight to UCH emergency stroke unit.

“If she hadn’t done that, we might not have him here today. Or things could have been a lot worse than they are.”

Mr O’Toole was able to return home to his family in Farnham after five days in hospital, and although he is lacking some balance and coordination, he is set to make a full recovery.

He said: “The road to recovery is long and I know there are going to be ups and downs, but it’s purely because of the help that woman gave me that I am here today.

“It is Father’s Day tomorrow, and I could have left two children, aged 16 and 12, and a wife, but as it is I am looking forward to opening some socks.”

He said the woman, who he believes was called Dani or Danielle, was a nurse with blonde curly hair, a “kind face”, and was possibly from Australia or New Zealand.

He added: “People do walk past, we don’t always take the time to see what is going on around us, but if that woman hadn’t stopped, I would have been dead. She was just so calming with me all the way through.

“It’s another one of those little acts of heroism, those little acts of kindness, and I just want to thank her for that.”

Ms O’Toole said: “I just want to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart, because I’ve still got a husband and my boys have still got a dad.”

She said the family was also “so grateful” for the treatment he received from the NHS, and wanted to highlight the importance of recognising the symptoms of a stroke.

NHS guidance says the signs of a stroke can vary from person but can begin suddenly.

The main stroke symptoms can be remembered with the word FAST:

  • Face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have drooped
  • Arms – the person may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in one arm
  • Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake; they may also have problems understanding what you're saying to them
  • Time – it's time to dial 999 immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms

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