What local 17-year-old thought was a bad headache turned out to be a massive stroke

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Doctors in the metro are putting out an urgent message about a different kind of health crisis, although it is related to the coronavirus.

People are avoiding a trip to the emergency room over fears of catching COVID-19.

“We know that there are patients who are sitting at home sometimes, maybe having a heart attack, maybe having a stroke that are scared to come in,” said Dr. Mike Lewis with the University of Kansas Health System.

“But we need them to understand: This is very time critical for some of these things that are happening for you and you need to feel comfortable coming to the hospital right now if it’s needed.”

It’s a message shared by a metro mother and 17-year-old.

Kelby Wilchie will be a senior at Center High School next year. Fun-loving and active, Wilchie couldn’t quite understand what was happening to her back on April 27.

“I didn’t know. I thought I just had a headache,” Wilchie said.

The teenager was actually suffering from a massive stroke. The kind of medical emergency where every passing second can have an impact on long term recovery prospects.

“The longer you wait the more difficult it going to be to intervene and minimize the complications afterward,” Lewis said. “There is maybe no safer place than a hospital right now.”

As for Wilchie, she has a long road to recovery but has set a goal to walk across the stage at graduation next spring. Her long term goal is to become a doctor.

“I’ve always wanted to work in something like this, something that’s bigger than myself,” Wilchie said.

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