A Dallas woman’s life was saved in a virtual work meeting when her colleague noticed something was wrong.
Laurie Enright, the marketing director for UT Southwestern’s Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute, was on a video call with Associate Vice President Vicki Dennis, as was their custom every Wednesday morning.
However, on this particular call on August 11, 2021, 47-year-old Enright had a medical emergency.
Enright shared that Dennis’ image on the computer screen began to appear blurry to her at some point in their meeting.
“She kind of cocked her head. And so, I thought the screen had frozen, and I said, ‘Laurie, can you hear me?'” Dennis said.
But when she saw Enright hold up a finger, she asked if her colleague was okay. Enright did not respond and fell to the floor, scaring Dennis.
Enright said she was feeling excruciating pain and nausea.
“I hear people talk about migraines, so I didn’t know what was happening. I just knew that I had lost consciousness. I knew that I was nauseous, I knew that my head hurt, and I knew Vicki was insistent on me going to the emergency room,” she recalled.
Dennis insisted Enright be taken to the hospital and called for help. She dialed 911 and alerted O’Donnell Brain Institute leaders to the situation. She also called other team members to go to the ER at UT Southwestern Clements Jr. University Hospital and prepare to treat Enright.
Dennis did not know Enright’s address, and to get the street number, she began counting and asked Enright to signal by grunting when she said a correct number.
Dennis encouraged Enright to unlock the front door for the emergency crew’s easy entry. When responders got to Enright’s home, Dennis persuaded them to take Enright to UT Southwestern Clements Jr. University Hospital instead of the nearest hospital per protocol.
Upon arrival at UT Southwestern, doctors discovered Enright’s brain was bleeding. Dr. Jonathan White, a professor in the hospital’s Neurological Surgery and Radiology Departments, said that Enright had an aneurysm on her left middle cerebral artery.
A brain aneurysm is a bulging, weakened area formed in a blood vessel in the brain.
“When an aneurysm ruptures, it raises pressure inside the head and causes a traumatic brain injury — it’s almost like getting in a car accident,” White said.
White further explained that an aneurysm is fatal 50% of the time. The body can sometimes seal off the rupture, helping the victim to survive.
Enright had luck on her side as her body sealed off the rupture. According to her, she was already feeling normal by the time she got to the emergency room.
Doctors later determined that Enright should undergo surgery to stop the bleeding and repair the blood vessel. After the surgery, which took six hours, Enright fully recovered.
Enright, a mother of two, is grateful that the incident occurred while she was on the video call with Dennis. According to her, she would not have taken it seriously enough to call 911 as she had no serious health challenges before the time.
“I would have probably thought, ‘I need to go lay down, and I need to rest,'” she said.