Doctor Credits 28-Year-Old Robert Clift Of Port Washington With Saving His Own Life

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island man isn’t taking anything for granted this Father’s Day.

At just 28 years old, he suffered a stroke. But doctors say the young dad’s quick thinking saved his own life, CBS 2’s Alexis Christoforous reported Friday.

Sunday will be a very special day for Robert Clift.

“It’s the first one that I get to celebrate after having what I can only describe as a near-miss,” Clift said.

That “near-miss” happened two months ago, when he suffered a stroke during his bartending shift.

“I said, ‘I think I’m suffering a stroke. I’ve got left side … I can’t feel my arm, can’t feel my leg. My face is numb,’” Clift said.

Clift’s CPR training helped him recognize the warning signs. He told his manager to call 911 right away.

Carolyn Brockington is Clift’s neurologist. She said his quick thinking made all the difference in his recovery.

“In stroke, we say time is brain. We don’t have a lot of time in order to make the diagnosis and give the appropriate treatment,” Dr. Brockington said.

Clot-busting medication must be given within three hours of a stroke to be effective, Christoforous reported.

Clift received his treatment within that window. His stroke was due to a small undetected hole in his heart.

“It’s a structural problem with the heart that can allow blood clots if they develop in the legs or the pelvis to actually go through the heart, into the brain and cause a stroke,” Dr. Brockington said.

Clift said he remembers thinking about his wife, Evette, and 2-year-old daughter, Siena Mia, on his way to the hospital.

“It’s the usual father’s thing. Proms, weddings, her first date — that basic stuff was going through my head,” he said.

Clift said he takes a baby aspirin every day to prevent blood-clotting and added he’s just grateful to be alive.

Doctors say if you see someone with their face drooping or suffering from arm weakness or speech difficulty, you should call 911 for help immediately.

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