'Women Often Just Aren't Heard': Sharon Stone Says Doctors Thought She Was 'Faking' Stroke

In 2001, the Emmy winner suffered a hemorrhage that left her with a nine-day brain bleed, a 1% chance of survival — and a vanishing career.

Sharon Stone clearly remembers her near-fatal stroke — and the doctors who dismissed it.

In a British Vogue interview published Friday, the “Basic Instinct” star recalled the 2001 hemorrhage that left her with a nine-day brain bleed and 1% chance of survival. But Stone said that she was initially misdiagnosed by doctors and nearly sent home untreated.

“They missed it with the first angiogram and decided that I was faking it,” Stone told the outlet.

The Emmy winner had initially experienced a piercing head pain before “waking up on a gurney” at a Los Angeles hospital, she said. Believing the false-negative angiogram, a doctor decided without her knowledge to perform “exploratory brain surgery” — until she pushed back.

“What I learned through that experience is that in a medical setting, women often just aren’t heard,” she said.

Research suggests that medical professionals sometimes see women as overly dramatic in descriptions of their symptoms. This apparent gender bias can have deadly consequences.

A friend eventually helped convince doctors to give Stone a second angiogram. She was ultimately diagnosed with a ruptured artery, which can be the result of a physical trauma or other factors.

Stone was then treated by esteemed neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Lawton, but endured a harrowing recovery — in addition to a rapidly vanishing acting career.

Sharon Stone has found her second calling as a board member at Barrow Neurological Foundation.
Sharon Stone has found her second calling as a board member at Barrow Neurological Foundation.
Stefanie Keenan/The Hollywood Reporter/Getty Images

“I bled so much ... that the right side of my face fell, my left foot was dragging severely, and I was stuttering very badly,” Stone told British Vogue.

“I would also get these weird knuckle-like knots that would come up all over the top of my head,” she added. “I can’t express how painful it all was.”

A former collaborator of Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro’s, Stone was sparsely cast in major movies after the stroke left her disabled. But she has found a second calling as a board member at the Barrow Neurological Foundation, which supports Lawton’s Barrow Neurological Institute.

“I lost so much, and I could have allowed that to define me,” she told British Vogue, saying that in addition to her foundering career, she lost her marriage and custody of her son.

“But you have to stand up and say, ‘Okay, that happened, and now what? What am I made of?’”

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