I was in a race against time. And in this case, “time” was my brain.
Yet I won … thanks to the fast actions of doctors at Mount St. Mary’s Hospital.
I was on a flight home from Florida recently after spending a wonderful vacation with my family. My three kids had booked a cruise for me as a gift, and we went together including 8 of my 11 grandchildren. I felt great. Relaxed.
As the plane was flying into Niagara Falls, an airline attendant came to my seat and asked if I had ever had a seizure or a stroke. I couldn’t understand why he was asking me that. Unknown to me, he had recognized the symptoms of a stroke, indicated by a drooping on one side of my face. I’m telling you, I felt perfectly fine.
But I wasn’t.
I was having an ischemic stroke. The attendant called ahead to have paramedics waiting at the airport. Next thing I knew, I was being carried off the plane and put on a stretcher. I didn’t resist, but I was still feeling like everything was normal. An ambulance sped me to Mount St. Mary’s Hospital in what seemed like a minute.
That’s where I met Dr. Syed Bukhari, an emergency room physician, who greeted me immediately upon my arrival at the ambulance bay thanks to pre-notification by the Tri-Community emergency transport team. Dr. Bukhari rushed me for a stat CT scan to see if there was bleeding in my brain. After immediate consultation with Neurologist Dr. Kenneth Halliwell and Radiologist Dr. Peter Ferin, due to the specifics of my case, a stroke was confirmed and the decision was made to administer the drug Alteplase (tPA).
The American Stroke Association best practice is to administer Alteplase within 60 minutes or less of arrival. I’m so very grateful for the team at Mount St. Mary’s who administered the drug within 44 minutes of my arrival. For stroke patients, minutes matter and, in this case, saving time meant saving function of my brain.
During all this, my brother, Joseph, came to see me in the ER. It wasn’t until I saw the look on his face that I realized the seriousness of the situation. What I thought was an inconvenience, I then knew was a matter of life and death. My brother stayed with me as Alteplase was administered. He was amazed as he watched my face slowly return to normal before his eyes. Even with the seriousness of the situation, we laughed that I was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
I was transferred to Mercy Hospital for a possible endovascular procedure. Mercy, located in Buffalo, thankfully is a part of the same hospital system (Catholic Health) that Mount St. Mary’s is. Having the two hospitals in partnership was extremely important because Mercy is the only advanced comprehensive stroke center in the region and the great care I received at Mount St. Mary’s seamlessly continued there. I steadily improved over the four days I was treated and passed a stress test with flying colors while I was there. I currently take a couple of medications following the stroke and I feel good!
I am in my early 60s and I have always been athletic and in shape. I played football and basketball. Healthy, right? I never saw the stroke coming. I’m so grateful to the entire team of care givers who recognized my symptoms and treated me so quickly and successfully.
Honoring Dr. Bukhari, Dr. Halliwell & Dr. Ferin on Doctors’ Day
That is why I am recognizing Dr. Bukhari, Dr. Halliwell, and Dr. Ferin on National Doctors’ Day. It’s an annual celebration of special caregivers and the great work they do. Their teamwork and quick thinking made all the difference, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
Would you help me celebrate? Please consider supporting the Mount St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation with a donation. If you have had your own great experience at Mount St. Mary’s, this is your chance to applaud the great care they provide.
Your recognition is a gift in itself, and any comments you share will be delivered to your doctor or caregiver.
I can’t wait to vacation with my family again. While you’re thinking about my story, please consider making a donation today. Every contribution is appreciated.
– Kenneth Lidge
Donate to Mount St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation
A Letter from Dr. Kenneth Halliwell
I am very thankful to Mr. Lidge for his kind words about the excellent care he received from Mount St. Mary’s Hospital. I am thrilled with how well Mr. Lidge is doing and I really appreciate his efforts to bring awareness to the community. It is this kind of affirmation that makes us, as caregivers, appreciate and embrace the role we play in helping our patients recover and prosper even more.
Mount St. Mary’s Hospital is an invaluable asset to the local community. From staff members in the emergency room, to the intensive care unit, to the medical floors; we all work together seamlessly to deliver quality care to patients, such as Mr. Lidge. I consider myself fortunate to work with such a wonderful group of individuals.
Ongoing community support for Mount St. Mary’s Hospital remains necessary. The support the Foundation receives from generous gifts allow me and my colleagues the opportunity to utilize the most state-of-the art equipment in the most comfortable of settings. Every gift to the Foundation makes a great difference and I know, first hand, that Mount St. Mary’s is the place it is today because of the philanthropy of our community.
– Dr. Kenneth Halliwell, Niagara Neurology and Sleep Medicine