Mervyn and Karen Roper pose for a photograph in Redcliffe, Friday, August 16, 2019 (AAP Image/Richard Walker)
Mervyn and Karen Roper pose for a photograph in Redcliffe, Friday, August 16, 2019 (AAP Image/Richard Walker)

How a quick text saved Mervyn’s life

MERVYN Roper laid on his kitchen floor while his dogs licked his face, he was unable to talk and barely able to move.

Thankfully he was just able to reach his phone to send four blank texts to his wife - a move that ultimately saved his life.

Karen Roper, a radiographer at Redcliffe Hospital, was leaving work for the day when she noticed the texts from her husband and instantly knew something was wrong.

"I tried to call him back but he didn't answer. When he finally did he just made a grunting noise," she said.

"From that simple phone call, I feared Mervyn had suffered a stroke and called triple-0 (000).

"The ambulance beat me home. I remember thinking 'am I overreacting, was it just bad reception?'

"Mervyn was paralysed down one side, had a facial droop and was disorientated. It was incredibly frightening."



Karen and Mervyn Roper Photo: AAP /Richard Walker
Karen and Mervyn Roper Photo: AAP /Richard Walker


Within an hour from Mrs Roper receiving the texts, Mervyn was in hospital having treatment to remove a blood clot from his brain.

"I was told I had to make a decision, the treatment was risky but if we didn't do it he would of died," Mrs Roper said.

Now, eight years later, Mr and Mrs Roper reflect back on that day as sheer luck and are encouraging others to learn the signs of a stroke.

The Ropers are sharing their story ahead of National Stroke Week - which runs from September 2-8.

Stroke is one of Australia's biggest killers and a leading cause of disability.

It occurs when blood supply to the brain is disrupted, either by a blocked blood vessel or a leaking blood vessel.

Treatments can stop this damage, but must be delivered quickly.

"It was incredible to see someone who couldn't walk or speak return to normal so quickly," Mrs Roper said.

"The first responders and the hospital staff did a wonderful job and despite being told I saved Mervin's life I think it was really the medical staff.

"I urge everyone to learn and share the F.A.S.T signs of stroke and to act quickly if you suspect something is wrong. You could save the life of someone you love."


Recognise the signs of a stroke


 Face: Has their face drooped?

 Arms: Can they lift both arms?

 Speech: Is their speech slurred, do they understand you?

 Time: is critical, if you notice these signs call Triple 0 immediately