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Surviving a stroke at 24: Katrina shares her story

When Katrina showed signs of a stroke, quick action from her mom and neurosurgeon saved her life.

Katrina is all smiles now that she’s feeling back to normal.

At first, Katrina Yeugelowitz thought she was dealing with a little insomnia. But after tossing and turning for a few hours one night, the 24-year-old Staten Island, New York, resident and aspiring teacher suddenly had difficulty moving her legs. “I knew something was really wrong. I fell off my bed and crawled to my mom’s room,” she said. “By the time I got to the hallway, I couldn’t speak and I couldn’t move.”

Katrina’s mother, Kelly, who is a nurse at Northwell Health, immediately called an ambulance. At first, the emergency team at Staten Island University Hospital thought they were dealing with an overdose or maybe a brain seizure. But Kelly insisted her daughter was showing signs of stroke and demanded to see a specialist. Katrina says she is thankful that neurosurgeon Mohammed Moussavi, MD, was on call that night. 

Young woman and her mother smile next to the staircase in their home.
Katrina is grateful to her mother, Kelly, for helping save her life.

“They did a scan and found I had five blood clots in my brain,” Katrina said. “Dr. Moussavi was so comforting and helped my mom understand exactly what was going on and what needed to happen.”

Dr. Moussavi said there was a huge clot blocking Katrina’s carotid artery and three critical pathways that feed blood to the brain. He used a catheter-based approach to remove that clot, as well as the five others. He said he is grateful that Katrina’s mother was there to advocate for her daughter and get her the care she needed.

“It’s important for people to increase and improve their knowledge about stroke symptoms because time is critical to a patient’s outcomes,” Dr. Moussavi said. “Thanks to Katrina’s mother knowing the signs, we were able to act in time. And within two to three days after the procedure, she was almost back to normal.”

A man and three women smile while sitting on the front steps of their home as their dog peeks over their shoulders.
With a new lease on life, Katrina enjoys spending time with her family.

Five months later, Katrina marvels in her recovery and credits Dr. Moussavi with saving her life. 

“Within just a few days, I was walking, I was talking and my face wasn’t drooping anymore. I still have a little weakness in my one side, but I’m working on it,” she said. “Dr. Moussavi and his team really went the extra mile. I wouldn’t be here without him.”

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