2-state phone call saves woman's life

9:39 PM, May 2, 2013   |    comments
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BOULDER - A long distance phone call literally saved a Boulder woman's life.

On Wednesday, Natalie Meisler - a sports reporter in Colorado - was talking to her work friend at the University of Wyoming on the phone.

A few minutes into the conversation, her friend, Tim Harkins, the associate AD of media relations at the university, said Meisler began to slur her words. Harkins says his father had a stroke when he was in college and he recognized the symptoms.

"I could tell after a few seconds that she was trying to speak, but was struggling forming words," Harkins said. "After I talked to her a little bit more I could tell that something was going wrong. The first thing that crossed my mind was you know we need to try and get her help. I didn't know what her address was. I knew she lived in Boulder, but I didn't have a street address."

Harkins thought about their mutual friend, Gary Ozzello, the senior associate athletic director at CSU. While Harkins was on the phone with Meisler, he called Ozzello and asked him to check for her information.

"He sounded calm on the phone to me. What I can share is that I could sense his urgency, but I could also sense total calmness that we need this, we need it now. Let's get this done," Ozzello said.

Within two minutes, Ozzello found Meisler's address and gave it to Harkins who then called 911.

Five minutes later, Boulder police, fire and an ambulance were on the scene and Meisler was rushed to the hospital. Her life was saved and her two friends call it nothing short of a miracle.

"If you look at the flip side, if one thing doesn't happen, if I don't answer the phone, if I don't have the address, or if Tim is not on the phone with Natalie, it probably doesn't have a good ending, " said Ozzello.

The American Stroke Association uses the acronym F.A.S.T to remember the warning signs for a stroke. It stands for Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 911.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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