Debra's Story

"A swift recovery – thanks to a swift response"

Debra Born, 25, awakened feeling off about 4 a.m. on Aug. 6, 2019. The new college graduate was nauseous and extremely dizzy. “I thought I was just exhausted and figured that was why I could not move. I kept trying to say that I was fine, but I had a hard time talking.”

Her father, Frank Born, says it’s fortunate she couldn’t speak. “She was trying to tell us, ‘I’m OK. Just let me sleep.’ And we might have.”

Instead, he dialed 911.

An ambulance brought Debra Born to the hospital closest to her home in Rome, New York. The physician in the emergency department of Rome Memorial Hospital, via a teleconference with stroke specialists at Upstate University Hospital, arranged for a helicopter to fly Born to Upstate in nearby Syracuse.

She had a blood clot in her brain that was swiftly removed by Hesham Masoud, MD, an interventional neurologist with specialization in vascular neurology and endovascular surgical neuroradiology. Eighty percent of strokes are caused by clots, when an artery that feeds the brain becomes blocked. The other main type of stroke happens when a vessel bursts and bleeds. The treatment options are different for each type of stroke, and care is tailored to each patient based on the size and location of the clot or bleed, and the patient’s condition and medical history.

  

Masoud explains that Born’s stroke developed from an arterial dissection, a small tear in the lining of an artery at the base of her neck. This likely happened when the artery rubbed against her vertebrae, perhaps when she lifted something heavy or twisted in a certain way during physical activity. A clot developed, which caused an ischemic stroke when it obstructed blood flow to the brain.

The clot retrieval is performed in an operating suite, using micro catheters (tubes) and X-ray guidance. Born was feeling back to normal within hours of the procedure. When Masoud came to her bedside, she remembers, “he was thrilled to see how well I was doing.”

She was hospitalized overnight and able to go home the next day, with no lingering deficits from her stroke. Born says she appreciates the prayers of loved ones. “The skill of Dr. Masoud and my whole stroke team was impressive, and I am grateful to them for doing their best to ensure that I walked away alive and well.”

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