Young stroke victim saved by cutting-edge AI technology

Shalayma Cruz never expected to have a stroke at 35.

"It was like lightning. You know your normal routine and all of a sudden it is like a shock," Cruz said.

She added, "I think I might have fallen, I don’t remember much. All I remember is waking up and the doctor coming in and saying well Shalayma, you had a stroke."

Cruz was taken to Holmes Regional Hospital in Melbourne and survived thanks to new cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology at Health First.

"When a patient comes in we have to first find the clot. If you don’t know they have a problem, you can’t do anything to fix it," said Health First Neurosurgeon Fawad Shaheen.

Shaheen says, with the new tech, a patient experiencing stroke symptoms gets a CT scan, the results go straight to a website and within seconds, an algorithm runs to detect whether someone is having a stroke. That information is sent to a surgeon’s cell phone to alert them the patient needs help, and fast. A process that Shaheen says, takes just a fraction of the time doctors need.

"Time without question is the most important aspect when it comes to stroke … for every hour that occurs you have almost a 20 chance % that they will not have the functional outcome and will not be able to do what could have been done," Shaheen said.

Shaheen says the surgical team removed the clot quickly and successfully. Cruz spent less than a week in the hospital, and three months later is almost 100%  recovered. Now, she’s back at home with her 3-year-old son.

She says she is thankful she can still be here to watch him grow up and live her life to the fullest.

"I have done so much since then. I have gone kayaking!! You know, just embracing life as much as I can," Cruz said.