A weekly Zoom call among a longtime group of friends turned out to save Dorothy Farris’ life on July 30.
The 69-year-old from Palos Verdes was on a video call with four of her girlfriends when they noticed she started slurring her words and slumping over.
“We normally end our calls at 6 o’clock on the dot. For some unknown reason — I’d like to think it was divine intervention — that we extended this call to 6:16 that night and that’s when the symptoms first appeared,” said friend Pam Barclay.
Farris’ other friend Rita Plantamura says they were talking and laughing about how they met their husbands.
“Dorothy was the last one,” Plantamura said. “So we just said ‘Dorothy, OK your turn. How did you meet Bill?’ and there was just silence. She started slurring her words and slumping over.”
Miki Jordan Emenhiser, one of the other girlfriends, says they jumped into action.
“Intuitively, everybody just knew what role to take, to call 911, to call her husband, to stay on the Zoom with her,” Emenhiser said.
Valerie Ryan says she immediately started praying for her friend.
Paramedics arrived and rappelled a locked front gate to get into the home. Ferris was rushed to Torrance Memorial Medical Center and underwent an operation to remove a clot.
“Every minute that somebody is without blood flow to certain areas of the brain, you lose function,” said Dr. Shlee Song of the Torrance Memorial Medical Center’s stroke center.
Farris says she knew something was going on with her but she did not think it could be a stroke. Luckily, she made it to the hospital on time and after surgery, she is now able to walk and move her limbs.
“I refer to myself as the miracle child,” Ferris said. “It took four splendid friends that saved my life and I don’t know how you thank people who do that.”
If you see signs of a stroke, including slurred speech, muscle weakness and mental confusion, call 911 immediately.