It was the end of February 2004, the night of the Academy Awards. It was anything but an enjoyable evening for Diane as the pain of her now regularly occurring headaches increased to the point of vomiting. The next morning, Diane awoke to find bruises around her eyes. This prompted her to call her internist’s office and speak with a nurse. Still, no warning flag or concern. A day or so later, Diane saw her gynecologist who wisely instructed her to have her headaches checked more thoroughly. That Thursday, she saw her internist and was relieved to hear the doctor say she was fine. So, Diane and her husband continued with their plans and left on a winter trip for California.
“We are most grateful for the highly sophisticated technology and expertise of Dr. Brian Herman who saved the life of our dear friend Diane Jennings. How fortunate we all are to have such extraordinary physicians and care at Eisenhower Medical Center. Today Diane is back East at home enjoying her normal lifestyle. We all feel blessed.” – Harry and Joy Goldstein
With the internist’s assurance and her eye bruises all but gone under makeup, Diane arrived in Los Angeles for a brief two-day stay, and then traveled on to Palm Springs.
Upon their arrival, Harry M. Goldstein, Chairman of the Board at Eisenhower Medical Center, and his wife, Joy, hosted a dinner party for the East Coast couple and several local friends. By chance, Diane was seated near Dr. Brian Herman, Chief of Radiology for Eisenhower Medical Center, the Medical Director of Eisenhower Imaging Center and one of only a few interventional neuroradiologists in the country.
As the evening progressed, Diane spoke candidly with Dr. Herman about the circumstances she endured over the past two weeks. Wishing not to alarm her, but recognizing the potential early signs of stroke, Dr. Herman gently persuaded Diane to have a neurovascular screening, an MRA (Magnetic Resonance Angiogram) scan of her brain, carotid arteries and chest, at Eisenhower Imaging Center.
Sensing Dr. Herman’s genuine concern and sincerity, Diane agreed and before the end of the week she visited Eisenhower Imaging Center for the screening. The noninvasive procedure was performed on the Center’s state-ofthe- art Siemens Sonata MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scanner and took only minutes. The resulting images were available immediately for Dr. Herman’s review and evaluation. What they revealed was a dangerous aneurysm or stroke in Diane’s brain. Stroke, as Dr. Herman explained, was a generic term for many conditions related to blood flow both into and within the brain. In Diane’s case the aneurysm had stopped bleeding, but was likely to bleed again soon, and with far more serious consequences. As one might expect, the news stunned Diane and her husband Jeffrey. However, Dr. Herman calmed their fears when he explained that it could be repaired and he had experience conducting the delicate procedure right here at Eisenhower Medical Center. While Diane had been lucky, so far, the idea of surgery sent a cold chill down her spine. She began to recognize her good fortune to be in the care of Dr. Herman, one of an elite few in the country truly qualified to perform the latest procedure in the treatment of stroke and bleeding aneurysms known as Endovascular Coil Embolization.
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Dr. Herman explained that the procedure involved running a small catheter from the groin area through the natural roadways of the body, the blood vessels, into the brain. Once there, he would locate the aneurysm, and fill it with tiny platinum coils to exclude it from the circulation – or block the blood flow to the aneurysm — which would reduce the risk of further bleeding and more serious health consequences for Diane. He added that it would be painless, and unlike craniotomies, which involve removing a portion of the skull to access the brain, and expose patients to greater risk of infection and involve extensive recovery time in the hospital, it would take just a few hours and only require a brief overnight stay for observation.
Diane entered Eisenhower Medical Center for the procedure on Monday. Once complete, she and her husband were relieved to hear from Dr. Herman that all had gone very well. The bleeding had been stopped. Diane remained at Eisenhower Medical Center until the next afternoon, and less than one week later, she and her husband flew back home to Connecticut.
Now, when Diane reflects on the experience she sees it as having been an odyssey — and truly a stroke of luck to have found herself in the competent care of the Eisenhower Medical Center Team. She gratefully reflects, “Eisenhower is truly a wonderful organization, and I will always be indebted to Dr. Herman. He saved my life, I’m sure.”