This is a true story. It is a story about a patient, but it reflects the best that health care can do, and it brings several important issues into focus. The first issue is, "what is a hospital?" This simple question is not really defined in the American public's mind. People seem to think that hospitals are like banks and that they are all the same. They are not the same, and the differences in hospitals are real and may cost you your life if you go or are taken to the wrong one at the wrong time. This is becoming more acute a problem as techniques and advances become more sophisticated and require increasing expertise, which is often not available in every hospital.
A hospital is more than just a building. It is made up of doctors, nurses, allied personnel and equipment. That equipment is very expensive, and the doctors require more and more training and expertise. Like heart attacks that have to be treated in a timely fashion, strokes are a devastating and often fatal occurrence. Also, like heart attacks, the treatment for strokes has advanced since the time not long ago when doctors just pursed our lips and offered condolences and comfort to the patient and their family.
Much of the advance in stroke therapy is borrowed from Interventional Cardiology and are techniques which we pioneered in the coronary arteries. Much has been devised by the pioneers in the field of neuro-interventional radiology. The first hurdle was the belief that you could not work in the brain. Gruentzig faced the same prejudice when he started working in the heart arteries. No one believed it could be done until he proved it. Not being a Cardiologist, he was never subjected to the false understanding of what could and couldn't be done.
At Holy Cross Hospital, we are blessed by an Administration who has spent the money to buy the equipment to allow those of us with the expertise to better serve our patients and our community. Our hybrid operating room is an example. The Administration has also obtained the services of doctors with unique skill sets to serve unmet needs in our community. One such physician is Dr. Laslo Miskolczi.
Dr. Miskolczi and his team of angels apply their skills to save patients brains after they have a neuro event. They serve as our Code SERT or brain attack team. One of my patients is a 69 year-old female who developed cardiac symptoms and underwent coronary CT angiography, another advanced test that Holy Cross offers, with great expertise because of the radiologists that read our tests. They are among the best in the world, led by Dr. Claudio Smuclovisky - an innovator in this field.
My patient then underwent cardiac cath and was found to need coronary bypass surgery. Given that she was fit and otherwise without medical problems, it was predicted to go very easily for her, and it did until day four when she had a brief episode of atrial fibrillation that can occur in over 70% of patients with coronary artery bypass surgery. This was ended in about four hours. Two hours later while with a nurse in the bathroom, she suddenly collapsed and could not move the entire right side of her body or speak. A Code SERT was called, and she was immediately taken to CT scanning which showed a severe lack of blood flow to her left brain.
Minutes later, Dr. Miskolczi and his angels had her in the neuro interventional lab, and the following picture was obtained.
Soon after, Dr. Miskolczi worked his magic, and he and his team had the artery opened.
She was recovered from anesthesia, could speak a few words and began to move all of her extremities. By the next day she was speaking better and moving better. She is now on the Rehab floor at Holy Cross Hospital and working her way to what will hopefully be a full recovery. The ability to resolve what would have been a devastating or fatal stroke is a gift, and we at Holy Cross and our community are lucky to have this physician and his skill. We the medical staff, the nurses and allied personnel of Holy Cross Hospital are here for you, our community. Learn more about Dr. Miskolczi by visiting his online physician profile: Laszlo Miskolczi, MD