Is Facebook the new Life Alert?

Fleur Costello, a 40-year-old British woman, would say yes. She posted a garbled message to her Facebook account looking for help after experiencing a stroke, leaving herself partially paralyzed. The mother of three was home alone when she started to feel dizzy and couldn't read the phone to call the ambulance.

Costello recounted the scary scene to the British tabloid The Sun. When she fell on the ground she told the newspaper "I wanted to lay there and go to sleep but I knew I needed help urgently." It took her 20 minutes to realize that she could locate her husband, Karl, on Facebook.

So, Costello sent him a message, thinking she had written "Help, fainted, cannot get up help, hurt head," but in actuality it read "help faintef cannoi get up uhrlp gurt h4ead." Karl saw the message, realized it wasn't a joke, and left work immediately. He also alerted their neighbor, Suzy Young, to break into the house to provide assistance.

Costello was rushed to a hospital. She was admitted for a week, but the doctors expect her to fully recover.

Karl admits he doesn't check Facebook often but was happy he made an exception.

“If I hadn’t reluctantly logged on to Facebook, which I can’t usually stand, and Suzy had got there even half an hour later, Fleur might not have been so lucky," he said.

Photo by Liz Henry/Flickr