Patient's Story: Sunday, Lucky Sunday

On Sunday, September 6, 2011, the day did not start out well for Robert Burrow...but by the end of the day, he was one very lucky man. Robert’s wife, Eleanor, noticed that Robert was having a hard time moving and actually fell out of bed when he tried to get up.  Eleanor immediately called an ambulance and he was taken to Maui Memorial Medical Center where Emergency Department physician, Dr. John Mills, diagnosed a severe stroke that left Robert essentially paralyzed and unable to speak.

"I remember being in the ambulance and that’s about all." Robert said.

The stroke was caused by a blood clot lodged in the blood vessels of Robert’s brain. Interventional Radiologist, Dr. Ron Boyd, was brought in to treat Robert and discovered how serious the situation was. "We saw that there was a risk of hemorrhage in pulling out the clot that was causing the stroke. However if we did nothing, in all likelihood he would not recover his functionality and could end up in a nursing home," said Dr. Boyd.

After conferring with Eleanor, Dr. Boyd decided it was worth the risk to remove the clot. Robert is a very robust and active 68-year-old man who loves to ski and travel with his wife.  They wanted him to continue with that active lifestyle. "Dr. Boyd was very calm and I had a lot of faith in him. We had a very big decision to make about going in after the clot or leaving him as he was knowing that he might not recover." she said.

Dr. Boyd carefully removed the clot by passing a small spring-like device the size of a grain of rice into the artery in front of Robert's hip and from there up to his brain. "We were very lucky to snare the clot and pulled it out completely on one pass."

Within an hour of the operation Robert began to regain use of his arms and legs. "It was amazing," says Eleanor. "Within 12 hours he was taken from a vegetative state to being normal again."

Robert remembers one of the first things he saw when he regained consciousness. "A man walks up and hugs me, smiling all the while, telling me how happy he was to see me.  I did not remember him but he was Dr. John Mills from the Emergency Department, the first doctor to see me when I arrived at the hospital. We laughed and by the end of our conversation I had decided that I was indeed a very lucky man…thanks to the great staff at Maui Memorial Medical Center!"