Act F.A.S.T.: Woman Saves Husband’s Life During Stroke


Jeanne Mackay looked at her husband, Bruce, and knew instinctively he was having a stroke. Jeanne followed the F.A.S.T. protocol, used when someone is suspected of having a stroke. In part one of a two-part series, see how Jeanne’s F.A.S.T. reaction — along with a team of medical professionals — saved her husband’s life. In part two, we will show you how Bruce’s hard work and determination helped to overcome his paralysis.

“I told him to look at me and smile. His face was drooping and I felt he was having a stroke,” Jeanne Mackay says.

Although her husband, Bruce Mackay, said to wait, she called 911. She was following F.A.S.T. protocol for suspected stoke.

F.A.S.T. Stroke Protocol

  • Face drooping
  • Arm weakness
  • Speech difficulty
  • Time to call 911

“The important point is that the patients do the best when we can get to them early,” Radiologist Anthony Bruno, MD.

Jeanne credits the stroke education she received as a patient at Renown for saving her husband’s life.

“I think you’ve done such a good job in educating people and making them aware of the symptoms,” Jeanne says. “It’s really important because if I hadn’t called 911 right away, he might not have survived.”


  1. How fortunate that the F.A.S.T response was known and used. Too often we think "it will go away" if we just wait. Time is of the essence. Hope Bruce's recovery improves daily. And thank you, Jeanne, for sharing this story. It has increased my awareness of stroke symptoms. Question for medical staff: What role does aspirin have in such an acute situation?
    • Hello Louise, Thank you for reading and for your feedback! To answer your question, we reached out to J. Ivan Lopez, MD, FAAN, FAHS, FANA, director, Renown Institute for Neurosciences and professor and chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine. Q: What role does aspirin have in such an acute situation? A: "No role at all," Dr. Lopez says. "It is impossible to determine from the onset of symptoms whether these symptoms are due to an ischemic stroke or a hemorrhagic stroke. Taking aspirin in case of a hemorrhagic stroke can have devastating consequences because the clot that is forming in the brain tissue could increase in size. "In case of stroke symptoms, it is best to call 911 and be brought to Renown. Do not drive yourself because doing so could delay the process of treating the stroke, and we know that the only medication available to treat acute strokes helps best the sooner we give it." In good health, Roseann Langlois
  2. This is an absolute amazing story and it is a perfect example of preventative care education! Preventative care education is the future that must be invested in and recognized as a commodity. Good job Jeanne and you are a true hero to your husband Bruce, and to the world.