“I think when you mention brain surgery, it sounds like a serious surgery, and it was,” she says. “But I’m doing everything that I did normally. I’m active, I do yoga, I run, and my recovery was a lot shorter than expected.”
As for her experience at Rush: “I felt like I was in a boutique hotel, and I was in downtown Chicago. It was really that good.”
May is American Stroke Month, and volunteers from the American Heart/American Stroke Association gathered at the state capital to recognize Sen. Heather Steans, Rep. Robyn Gabel, and former Rep. Bob Biggins for their work to improve outcomes for stroke patients over the last five years. Stroke is the nation’s No. 4 killer and the No. 1 cause of severe disability.
Five years ago, Sen. Steans and Rep. Biggins, a stroke survivor, championed the groundbreaking Illinois Primary Stroke Center law of 2009. Since that time, 39 hospitals have been designated as Primary Stroke Centers, and five hospitals have been designated as Emergent Stroke Ready Hospitals, with many more waiting approval. These specifically designated stroke hospitals offer higher levels of stroke care, with strict national and/or state certification processes. EMS providers are directed to take stroke patients directly to these designated stroke centers, bypassing hospitals less able to provide high quality stroke care.
Sen. Steans and Rep. Gabel took the next step by introducing House Bill 5742, legislation that will keep stroke care moving in Illinois. This crucial legislation will allow Illinois to take full advantage of advances in technology, techniques, and standards of stroke care which have been developed since 2009, including:
Allowing the Illinois Department of Public Health to designate Comprehensive Stroke Centers, the highest level of stroke care available;
Align Emergent Stroke Ready Hospitals with National Acute Stroke Ready standards;
Facilitate the creation of an Illinois stroke data registry, a critical tool for continuing quality improvement.
In a press conference on May 22, as chair of the Illinois Advocacy Committee, I had the privilege of presenting Sen. Steans, Rep. Biggins and Rep. Gabel with Stroke Hero Awards. Shortly thereafter, I witnessed the almost unanimous approval of HB 5742 in the Senate. The bill now awaits the governor’s signature.
The Stroke Program at Rush has met the highest level certification standards by the American Stroke Association and the Joint Commission as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. Recently, Rush was awarded the Gold Plus Performance Achievement by the American Stroke Association.
Bill Metcalf’s stroke came, like so many, “out of nowhere.”
“I had no symptoms for it, it was not on my general practitioner’s watch list, and fortunately I came out of it OK,” he says.
But over the next year, Metcalf experienced disorientation and a sense that “something wasn’t right.” Upon meeting with neurosurgeon Demetrius Lopes, MD, he opted to undergo a cerebral angioplasty to treat a narrowed artery in his brain.
“My family’s had way more experience with this hospital than any family should … and then I come in and do a cerebral angioplasty.”
“It’s like I think we’ve tested every department here, and without fail, Rush has always been 100 percent tops.”
James A. Young, MD, has been praised by patients and colleagues for the dedication, compassion and hope he brings to the care of his patients.
In recognition of his efforts on behalf of patients with disabling brain injuries, Young received the 2013 Eugene J-MA Thonar, PhD, Award, which each year honors someone who has helped further the Medical Center’s commitment to providing opportunities for people with disabilities.
Young’s work at Rush goes beyond his official duties as chairperson of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He volunteers weekly with the Rush Neurological Family Information Group, which he founded in 2002. This group of volunteer health professionals provides information and guidance to the family members of brain injury patients at Rush.
“It is an educational group,” Young explains. “Families of brain injury patients are lost, they’re overwhelmed. We help them to ask the right questions and guide them on where to turn for assistance.”
Before Caley Trepac came to Rush University Medical Center last November to undergo brain surgery, a friend gave her a teddy bear. Trepac, who was 14 at the time, held the stuffed animal close throughout her weeklong stay at Rush. “It comforted me and made me feel loved,” she told a Chicago Tribune reporter.
While walking the halls of the pediatric intensive care unit during her recovery, Trepac saw children who also had serious medical conditions but who didn’t have their own doll to comfort them. As the first anniversary of her successful surgery on Nov. 5 approached, Trepac decided that she wanted to mark the occasion by collecting teddy bears and donating them to Rush to distribute to pediatric patients.
She succeeded beyond her wildest dreams. Earlier this month, the Plainfield resident and her family delivered more than 750 stuffed animals to Rush.
“I reached out to friends on Facebook, and word spread like crazy,” says Trepac’s mother, Wendy Frydrych-Trepac. Local businesses, the Plainfield Public Library, and even members of a rival high school volleyball team collected stuffed animals, and the family received financial donations to purchase additional dolls from as far as Massachusetts.
Rush University Provost Thomas Deutsch, MD, and Department of Neurosurgery Chairperson Richard Byrne, MD, shared the following note with Rush staff members earlier today:
It is with great sadness that we inform you that Roy A.E. Bakay, MD, the A. Watson Armour III and Sarah Armour Presidential Professor, passed away on Sept. 5 after a long battle with stomach cancer.
A neurosurgeon, Roy was a leading authority on Parkinson’s disease and specialized in surgery for movement disorders. He was instrumental in developing new applications of stereotactic surgery for Parkinson’s tremors. His research focused on neural tissue transplantation and gene therapy techniques that spanned a career over 40 years.
Roy received numerous awards and honors, including the AMA Physician Recognition Award, the Philip Gildenberg Award and the Molly and Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award. After graduation from Northwestern University Medical School, he began his career in academic medicine, writing four books, 56 chapters, more than 153 journal articles and 314 other publications.
In the early phase of Parkinson’s disease, when symptoms are very mild, the primary research focus is to develop interventions that halt or slow the progression of disability. In the midpoint of the disease, improved treatments of the core signs of Parkinson’s disease become the focus, because tremor, slowness, stiffness and balance difficulties can be inadequately controlled by currently available medications. In the advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease, concerns focus increasingly on non-motor concerns such as cognitive problems, apathy and hallucinations.
Many patients and their families participate in research to gain access to these new treatments and to advance the scientific understanding of Parkinson’s disease for the good of all people in the world with this disease. These research studies provide not only the possibility of a new treatment, but research subjects spend more time with staff, receive education, and often meet other research subjects, thereby broadening their understanding and empowerment.
Huntington’s disease (HD) is an incurable hereditary disease of the nervous system that affects movement, thinking, mood and behavior.
The gene that causes Huntington’s disease was discovered in 1993, and it is now possible to insert the abnormal gene into various animals, then test drugs for potential effects to slow down the devastating condition.
A number of promising drugs have been identified in this way. However, this now means that it is critical to enroll research participants into human studies of these drugs as well as into studies that help to better diagnose HD and better design new human studies.
At this time, there are studies available for patients with early symptoms of HD as well as studies for people at risk for the disease and HD family members. For more information, please call Jeana Jaglin, RN, at (312) 563-2900.
Kathleen M. Shannon, MD, is an associate professor of neurology at Rush University Medical Center. Her clinical practice focuses on Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, dystonia and other movement disorders.