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Being Laughed At By 911

My first migraine was on my 21st birthday. I wasn’t feeling great so my new husband & I were going to go out for a low key dinner. Before we left the house I started getting my first aura. A tiny ring of scintillating lights in a prism of colors. I was terrified and had no idea what was happening to me. My husband dialed 911 for me as I couldn’t see the numbers clearly. I explained my symptoms through tears and hysteria (I was certain that I was having a stroke. I had just started birth control pills and had been told it was a possible side effect). The aura was intensifying, becoming larger, closer & felt more “aggressive”. The next thing I remember was the 911 responder laughing at me. She was telling me that I wasn’t having a stroke, but just a migraine. That I should hang up, lie down & take a couple of aspirin. It was humiliating & pretty much summed up my experience with professionals regarding my migraines in those early years. It wasn’t until Imitrex trials that I was able to get non-narcotic relief.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • jeffpoleet
    3 years ago

    This is what happens when law enforcement hires people who barely got their GED, and then have the even better idea of giving them some authority. I would have had that woman’s job if she laughed at me, and I would have gotten a copy of the tape and given it to the local media. So sorry that happened to you, people suck.

  • SilverPhoenix13
    3 years ago

    911 operators should not be making diagnoses and they certainly shouldn’t be laughing at someone in a potential medical emergency. If someone had done that to me, I would have been lodging a complaint with the dispatch company as soon as I felt well enought to.

    Migraines are no laughing matter and can CAUSE a stroke or seizure.

  • Douglas
    3 years ago

    As Anne stated, the 911 operator could not be sure (even if she had experienced similar symptoms). Had you been having a stroke or seizure, things could have turned out very poorly.

  • Anne
    3 years ago

    how did she know you weren’t having a stroke – she’s not a doctor. That’s very scary that she diagnosing people over the phone.

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