23-Year-Old Paramedic Partially Paralyzes Herself After Cracking Neck Causes Ruptured Artery

natalie kunicki gofundme

While paramedics are typically ones helping others in emergencies, 23-year old paramedic Natalie Kunicki found herself on the opposite end of the hospital bed, when she partially paralyzed herself while stretching her neck.

According to Daily Mail, the London based paramedic explains that after a night out in March, she and a friend were hanging out watching movies in bed, when she stretched her neck and heard a loud cracking sound.

“I wasn’t even trying to crack my neck. I just moved and it happened. I stretched my neck and I could just hear this “crack, crack, crack. My friend asked “was that your neck?” but all my joints crack quite a bit so I didn’t think anything of it. I just laughed.”

– Natalie Kunicki, Daily Mail

After about 15 minutes, she got up to use the restroom and collapsed with no feeling in her left leg, stating that her friend had to pick her up. She shared that she initially thought she may have been drugged after her night out.

Kunicki explained that due to her line of work she was hesitant to call for an ambulance because she didn’t want her colleagues to find her ‘tipsy,’

“I’m a paramedic and I didn’t ring 999 for ten minutes because I thought it was too unlikely it would be a stroke when I should have known much better .”

– Natalie Kunicki, Daily Mail

Giving in, Kunicki made a call for the ambulance and was rushed to University College London Hospital where they confirmed she had had a stroke. She underwent a three-hour surgery, and they found a ruptured artery in her neck.

“The doctors told me later that just that stretching of my neck had caused my vertebral artery to rupture,” Kunicki shared. “It was just spontaneous, and there’s a one in a million chance of it happening.”

– Natalie Kunicki, Daily Mail

The doctors were able to repair the ruptured artery with a stent but they were unable to clear the blood clot in her brain, although they believe it will dissolve in time.

Kunicki shared that she hit a pretty low point following her diagnosis.

‘”I was just completely shut off, trying to compute what had happened. People said I was a bit like a robot and didn’t show much emotion.”

Natalie Kunicki, Daily Mail

Kunicki admits that she expected to wake up after surgery with everything fixed but instead was met with mobility issues that had actually worsened, and the news of failure to clear the clot.

“At the start I couldn’t move my thumb and forefinger. I could kind of move my wrist up and down. I couldn’t lift my arm. I could bend my left leg but I couldn’t wiggle my toes.”

Natalie Kunicki, Daily Mail

Since the incident, Kunicki is doing a lot better, having recovered movement and sensation in her limbs. She credits daily exercise with helping her regain movement.

via fulltimegipsy

While doctors have not been able to say how long it will take for her to make a full recovery, Kunicki is determined to return to work for ‘light duty’ in six to twelve months. She’s also eager to help bring awareness to strokes in young people.

There is currently a GoFundMe page created for Kunicki to help with expenses due to loss of work since the incident. You can check it out here.

h/t Daily Mail