While covering the Grammy’s, CBS reporter Serene Branson appeared to be having a stroke or some other type of medical emergency on air while millions of people watched. You can see the video clip here if you haven’t seen it before.
According to doctors, Serene did not suffer a stroke, but from a “complex migraine”.
Wanting to set the record straight, last night Serene Branson sat down for an interview with KCBS’ Pat Harvey, to talk about her ordeal.
Serene Branson looked nervous last night as she talked about the on-air live report she did after the Grammy’s that caused her to be an overnight sensation.
The 31-year-old journalist hadn’t watched the 17-second clip that had either made people make fun of her or grow concerned for her. She said she had purposely avoided watching it, fearing it may increase her stress as doctors tried to find the medical cause for her garbled words.
How is she feeling now? “I’m fine, wonderful,” Branson said. “I’m feeling like my old self. I want to turn this into a positive, to let people know I’m OK, and that there is treatment for conditions like this. My doctor believes this was an isolated incident.”
She said that after learning her condition had been caused by a migraine – a “migraine with aura.”- she was relieved. The chief of neurosurgery at the UCLA Medical Center, Dr. Neil Martin, said symptoms of these types of migraines resemble those of a stroke and can include weakness, loss of vision, difficulty speaking and headache.
“My mother has had them,” she added. “And I’m really eager and anxious to get back to work and concentrate on reporting on stories, not being the story.”
Did she know that something was wrong before she went on air? “My eyes were tired,” she said. “I started to feel nauseous and dizzy…my head was pounding. I was very uncomfortable.”
She knew something was wrong as she started to try to begin her report. “As soon as I opened my mouth,” she said, “I was like watching myself in a movie. I knew what I wanted to say, but I couldn’t say it.”
As soon as she ended the on-air segment, field producer Kerry Maller and others ran to her. “I felt like I was going to collapse,” Branson said. “I was terrified. My right cheek went numb, then my right hand.”
The paramedics arrived. “They checked my vital signs and I began to regain my speech,” said Branson, who remembered feeling better by this time. “They kept asking me if I wanted to go to the hospital, and I just kept saying, I want to go home.’ I was in a cocktail dress in the back of an ambulance, and all I wanted to do was go home. I was cold and exhausted.”
The paramedics released her, and a friend drove her home. She fell to sleep immediately. The next morning, it was a call from her mother that got her to go to the hospital.
Now that she has a name for her condition and with a positive diagnosis, Branson hopes to help others who might have the same condition. Her goal right now is to return to work.
“This will all blow over,” she said. “I’m looking forward to covering the Oscars.”