Paramedic, 23, suffers a stroke after cracking her neck and mistakes her own ...

A paramedic has been left partially paralysed at 23 after stretching her neck and rupturing a major artery.  

Natalie Kunicki, who works for London Ambulance Service, mistook her own symptoms as being drunk on March 4 and initially was too embarrassed to phone 999.

She was watching films in bed with a friend after a night out when she stretched her neck and heard a loud 'crack', but didn't think much of it.

When Ms Kunicki, who was living in West Hamspstead at the time, got up for the bathroom 15 minutes later, she collapsed to the floor as her left leg was unable to move. 

She was rushed to hospital where she was told her vertebral artery - a major artery in the neck - had burst. This caused a blood clot to form in her brain and triggered a stroke.  

Ms Kunicki was so shocked she was left 'emotionless' for days, and is now rebuilding her life. But doctors are unsure when and if she will regain full mobility.

Natalie Kunicki, who works for London Ambulance Service, mistook her own symptoms of a stroke as being drunk on March 4 and initially was too embarrassed to phone 999

Natalie Kunicki, who works for London Ambulance Service, mistook her own symptoms of a stroke as being drunk on March 4 and initially was too embarrassed to phone 999

Ms Kunicki, pictured during her nurse training in Australia, was watching films in bed with a friend after a night out when she stretched her neck and heard a loud 'crack'

Ms Kunicki, pictured during her nurse training in Australia, was watching films in bed with a friend after a night out when she stretched her neck and heard a loud 'crack'

Doctors confirmed that Ms Kunicki's vertebral artery - a major artery in the neck - had burst causing a blood clot to form in her brain and triggered a stroke. Pictured in hospital

Doctors confirmed that Ms Kunicki's vertebral artery - a major artery in the neck - had burst causing a blood clot to form in her brain and triggered a stroke. Pictured in hospital

Ms Kunicki said: 'People need to know that even if you're young something this simple can cause a stroke.

'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. 

'I got up and tried to walk to the bathroom and I was swaying everywhere. I looked down and realised I wasn't moving my left leg at all then I fell to the floor.

'My friend had to come and pick me up. He thought I was drunk but I knew something else was wrong. I thought I had been drugged. The date rape drug can cause paralysis.'  

Ms Kunicki, who moved from Canberra, Australia, to join the LAS in December 2017, admits she was hesitant at first to call 999 as she didn't want colleagues to turn up and find her 'tipsy'.

She said: '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.' 

After struggling to fall back to sleep, Ms Kunicki finally put aside her embarrassment and called the emergency services.

As soon as the ambulance crew started carrying out tests, Ms Kunicki realised there was something seriously wrong as her coordination had deteriorated and her heart rate and blood pressure were 'sky high'.

She said: 'I was trying to call 999 but I was dithering about it. 

Ms Kunicki is now rebuilding her life but doctors are unsure when and if she will regain full mobility. She said she can't walk for longer than 15 minutes. Pictured, walking in hospital

Ms Kunicki is now rebuilding her life but doctors are unsure when and if she will regain full mobility. She said she can't walk for longer than 15 minutes. Pictured, walking in hospital

As soon as the ambulance crew started carrying out tests, Ms Kunicki realised there was something seriously wrong as her coordination had deteriorated and her heart rate and blood pressure were 'sky high'. Pictured in hospital

As soon as the ambulance crew started carrying out tests, Ms Kunicki realised there was something seriously wrong as her coordination had deteriorated and her heart rate and blood pressure were 'sky high'. Pictured in hospital

Ms Kunicki, who moved from Canberra, Australia, to join the LAS in December 2017, admits she was hesitant at first to call 999 as she didn't want a crew she knew to turn up and find her 'tipsy'. Pictured outside hospital with her flatmate, Emily Nawiesniak, and father, Peter Kunicki

Ms Kunicki, who moved from Canberra, Australia, to join the LAS in December 2017, admits she was hesitant at first to call 999 as she didn't want a crew she knew to turn up and find her 'tipsy'. Pictured outside hospital with her flatmate, Emily Nawiesniak, and father, Peter Kunicki 

'I think they did look at me at first like they thought I was just a classic drunk 23-year-old but I told them I was a paramedic and I knew something was wrong.'

After tests, the ambulance crew rushed Ms Kunicki to University College London Hospital where it was confirmed she had suffered a stroke and would need emergency surgery.

After being blue-lighted to the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Ms Kunicki underwent three-hour surgery where doctors discovered her burst artery.

While surgeons were able to repair Ms Kunicki's artery with a stent, they couldn’t clear the clot in her brain but they believe it will dissolve in time. 

Ms Kunicki, whose left side was almost completely paralysed by the stroke, said the diagnosis was such a shock that she became 'emotionless' for days. 

She said: 'When the consultant told me I'd had a stroke I was in shock.

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

'I don't smoke, I don't really drink and I don't have any family history of strokes so it's quite strange it happened to me when I was just moving in bed. 

'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.'

This shocking news, along with her mobility being even worse after surgery, left Ms Kunicki feeling so low she told her consultant they 'should have killed her'.

Ms Kunicki said: 'I expected to wake up from this miracle surgery and

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