While it is still not known why Los Angeles reporter Serene Branson unexpectedly slurred her words on live television Sunday night (Feb. 13), she is reportedly feeling better and searching for answers.
The local CBS affiliate reached out to viewers on Monday, saying that Branson “wants us to know she followed-up with a visit to the doctor for some medical tests. [She] thanks everyone for their concern and good wishes and hopes to be back on the air very soon.”
NBC’s “Today Show” addressed the public concern for the Emmy nominated reporter by speaking with two doctors about the viral video. They say that the attack being caught on camera may help doctors reach a diagnosis.
“This is what we call a class neurological event,” says Dr. Keith Black, director of the Neurosurgical Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. “She was obviously aware that she was having difficulty.”
According to both Black and NBC’s chief medical editor, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, there are two possible causes of the attack: Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), also known as a temporary stroke or a mini seizure located in the language area
“All the TIA means is that there was something transient that blocked off the blood supply that altered the brain,” Snyderman explains. “When that happens even for five seconds brain cells can die and it can mean further on in ones life, you’re set up. It’s important while people watch this to remember that this is a classic sign of a neurologic event. Other things that can happen, right sided weakness, slurred speech, the inability to communicate — like she’s having — problem walking, profound headache… ”
After the incident, the station released a statement saying that Branson was examined by paramedics and driven home by a colleague after it was determined that her vitals were fine. Snyderman criticizes the action, saying she should have gone straight to the ER.
“She could have recovered and had perfectly normal neurologic function normal vital signs and said, ‘Fine, I’ll go home on my own.’ Not the right thing to do,” she says. “You immediately go to the Emergency Room because this can be a harbinger of more things to come. It’s not unlike a heart attack, you wouldn’t send a heart attack patient home.”
She does acknowledge that she has not examined her and obviously can’t make an official diagnosis, but insists that the video most definitely shows “A neurologic event in real time.”
You can watch the full piece from “Today” below. We hope Branson is getting the answers she needs and will be able to return to work quickly.