Hoax Warning Sign
Home Health Hoaxes Dangerous Hoax – ‘A Needle Can Save The Life of a Stroke Victim’

Dangerous Hoax – ‘A Needle Can Save The Life of a Stroke Victim’

by Brett M. Christensen

This story was first published on November 6, 2012


Circulating health “tip” claims that pricking the fingers and earlobes of a stroke victim with a needle to release blood can save the victim’s life and lead to a full and rapid recovery. 

Brief Analysis

The information in the message is not only wrong, but potentially very dangerous. Blood letting as described will not help a stroke victim to recover in any way and may in fact make matters worse. There is no scientific basis for the claims in the message and the technique described is certainly not recommended or endorsed by health authorities. And the claim that victims should recover from the stroke symptoms before being taken to hospital is breathtakingly irresponsible and could lead to the death or permanent injury of the patient due to the unnecessary delay in proper medical treatment.




From a Chinese Professor .

Keep a syringe or needle in your home to do this… It ‘ s amazing and an unconventional way of recovering from stroke, read it through it can help somebody one day.

This is amazing. Please keep this very handy. Excellent tips. Do take a minute to read this. You ‘ ll never know, ones life may depend on you

My father was paralyzed and later died from the result of a stroke. I wish I knew about this first aid before. When stroke strikes, the capillaries in the brain will gradually burst. (Irene Liu) When a stroke occurs, stay calm.

No matter where the victim is, do not move him/her. Because, if moved, the capillaries will burst.

Help the victim to sit up where he/she is to prevent him/her from falling over again and then the blood letting can begin .

If you have in your home an injection syringe that would be the best.

Otherwise, a sewing needle or a straight pin will do.

1. Place the needle/pin over fire to sterilize it and then use it to prick the tip of all ……10 fingers.

2. There are no specific acupuncture points, just prick about an mm from the fingernail.

3. Prick till blood comes out.

4. If blood does not start to drip, then squeeze with your fingers.

5. When all 10 digits is bleeding, wait a few minutes then the victim will regain consciousness.

6. If the victim ‘ s mouth is crooked , then pull on his ears until they are red.

7. Then prick each earlobe twice until two drops of blood comes from each earlobe.

After a few minutes the victim should regain consciousness.

Wait till the victim regains his normal state without any abnormal symptoms then take him to the hospital.
Otherwise, if he was taken in the ambulance in a hurry to the hospital, the bumpy trip will cause all the capillaries in his brain to burst.

If he could save his life, barely managing to walk, then it is by the grace of GOD.

‘ I learned about letting blood to save life from Chinese traditional doctor, Ha Bu Ting, who lives in Sun Juke.

Furthermore, I had practical experience with it. Therefore, I can say this method is 100% effective.

In 1979, I was teaching in Fung Gaap College in Tai Chung.

One afternoon, I was teaching a class when another teacher came running to my classroom and said in panting, ‘ Ms Liu, come quick, our supervisor has had a stroke ! ‘ . I immediately went to the 3rd floor. When I saw our supervisor, Mr. Chen Fu Tien, his colour was off, his speech was slurred , his mouth was crooked – all the symptoms of a stroke

I immediately asked one of the practicum students to go to the pharmacy outside the school to buy a syringe , which I used to prick Mr. Chen’s 10 fingers tips.

When all 10 fingers were bleeding (each with a pea-sized drop of blood), after a few minutes, Mr. Chen ‘ s face regained its colour and his eyes ‘ spirit returned,

But his mouth was still crooked . So I pulled on his ears to fill them with blood . When his ears became red, I pricked his right earlobe twice to let out two drops of blood .

When both earlobes had two drops of blood each, a miracle happened .

Within 3-5 minutes the shape of his mouth returned to normal and his speech became clear.

We let him rest for a while and have a cup of hot tea , then we helped him
go down the stairs, drove him to Wei Wah Hospital . He rested one night and was released the next day to return to school to teach.. Everything worked normally.

There were no ill after effects.

On the other hand, the usual stroke victim usually suffers Irreparable bursting of the brain capillaries on the way to the hospital. As a result, these victims never recover. ‘ (Irene Liu)Therefore, stroke is the second cause of death. The lucky ones will stay alive but can remain paralysed for

It is such a horrible thing to happen in ones life.

If we can all remember this blood letting method and start the life saving process immediately , in a short time, the victim will be revived and regain 100% normality.


Detailed Analysis

According to a widely circulated “health advice” message that has been passed around via email, the blogosphere and social media websites since at least 2003, you can save the life of a stroke victim by pricking his or her finger tips and earlobes with a needle to let out blood. The message suggests that, should a person suffer a stroke, you should prick all ten of the victim’s fingers with a needle or syringe until they bleed. And, if the victim’s mouth is crooked, you should also pull on his or her ears until they are red and prick them until they bleed as well. Supposedly, the blood letting technique described will stop capillaries in the victim’s brain from bursting.

The message also recommends that you wait until the victim recovers from the stroke symptoms before taking him or her to the hospital because the journey will cause all the capillaries in the victim’s brain to burst, thereby leading to death or paralysis.

However, the health advice in the message is total nonsense and has no scientific or medical merit whatsoever. In fact, the spurious claims in the message are potentially very dangerous and acting on them could actually cost a stroke victim’s life or cause the ongoing effects of the stroke to be significantly worse than need be.

In a post on the NeuroLogica Blog, respected American clinical neurologist Dr. Steven P. Novella notes:

First let me dispense with the claims that are made – primarily that minute bleeding through finger or earlobe pricks will prevent permanent damage from a stroke.

There are actually several kinds of stroke. The term refers to the presentation of symptoms – stroke-like or sudden in appearance. The two main types of stroke are hemmorhagic and ischemic. Hemmorhagic strokes are caused by bleeding into the brain. Ischemic strokes are caused by lack of blood flow to a portion of the brain, and are further divided by the cause of the blockage. Ischemic strokes can also secondarily bleed from the damage to the brain tissue and its blood vessels.

There is no situation in which all of the capillaries in the brain burst – this is not part of a stroke. The closest thing to this that actually occurs is that an ischemic stroke may subsequently bleed, but there is no evidence or any plausible reason to think that any of the things mentioned in this e-mail would lead to or prevent secondary bleeding.

Further, pricking the fingers or earlobes would cause (thankfully) a negligible amount of bleeding and would not in any way affect the stroke victim’s hemodynamics. And if it did,that would just worsen the stroke by decreasing brain perfusion and oxygen delivery.

The last thing a stroke victim needs is someone stabbing at his or her face and fingers with a needle, especially when said stabbing will not help in the slightest. But, the most concerning part of the message is its advice to wait until the victim has recovered from the initial stroke before taking him or her for medical treatment. This statement is irresponsible in the extreme and taking heed of it could have dire consequences. Dr Jose Vega, writing on strokes for an About.com article, explains:

The email conveys multiple unfounded ideas about stroke, but by far the most dangerous one of all is the suggestion that people should not be taken to a hospital until all their symptoms are resolved, on the grounds that “all the capillaries in the brain will burst on the way to the hospital”. This statement is untrue and totally irresponsible. When it comes to stroke every minute that you stay away from the hospital counts against you. After all, tPA, the most effective treatment available for stroke, must be given within 3 hours of the onset of stroke symptoms. Thus, even if you are into bloodletting, should you ever suspect that you or someone you know might be having a stroke, do yourself a favor and call the ambulance immediately.

The false ideas described in the message may have been fueled in part by the results of a 2005 study at Tianjin College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The object of the study was to “observe the effect of blood-letting puncture at Twelve Well-Points of Hand on consciousness and heart rate in patients with early apoplexy” . The results of the study suggested that “Blood-letting puncture at Twelve Well-Points of Hand can improve the consciousness and raise the systolic pressure in patients of the mild injury team”. However, it is very important to note that the patients who participated in the study were already properly diagnosed and hospitalized and the seemingly positive results only applied to the “mild injury” group. The article certainly does not advise or even imply that such a bloodletting technique should ever be used at home on stroke victims in place of seeking immediate medical treatment.
Moreover, while blood control techniques such as hemodilution have been considered as possible treatments for strokes, results have typically shown no improvements for stroke impact or tend to be inconclusive. Certainly, no credible medical reports have ever recommended blood letting as a stroke first aid treatment . Nor do any legitimate descriptions of stroke treatment recommend that patients be left until the stroke symptoms have dissipated before being taken for medical treatment.

A fact sheet about stroke first aid published on the Mayo Clinic website notes:

Seek immediate medical assistance. A stroke is a true emergency. The sooner treatment is given, the more likely it is that damage can be minimized. Every moment counts.

Thus, this potentially life threatening misinformation should not be forwarded, or shared. If you receive this message, please do not send it on. And please take the time to let the sender know that the information it contains is dangerously inaccurate.

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,