Henry Mayo Patient is a Miracle
David “Abe” Spencer, 54, was at home in Newhall, winding down from a stressful day when his roommate noticed something was not quite right. The left side of Spencer’s face was drooping and his speech was slurring. Fortunately, help was nearby.
Spencer, a man in good physical condition and previously active in sports, had no idea of the severity of the situation and the life-changing event he was about to face.
“I couldn’t get out of my chair, and when I tried, I fell on the floor,” Spencer said. “My roommate, Sandi, said she thought I was having a stroke and luckily insisted on calling an ambulance.”
Spencer was taken to the Emergency Department (ED) at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, where he was identified as a Code Neuro patient, presenting with classic symptoms of brain blockage. He underwent a CT scan and was administered tPA – a clot busting drug that, if given in the first 4.5 hours after the start of stroke symptoms, has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of stroke and lessen the chance of permanent disability.
After assessing Spencer’s condition, Seth Sushinsky, MD, an ED physician at Henry Mayo, consulted with a physician at a nearby hospital who specializes in a procedure to remove blockage of the artery to the brain that causes debilitating strokes. Within minutes, arrangements were made to transport Spencer via helicopter. Within three hours of his admission to the ED at Henry Mayo, the blockage in Spencer’s brain had been removed, and he was on his way to recovery.
“Dr. Sushinksy knew what was going on, and he explained the procedure to me as they were prepping me for the helicopter ride,” Spencer said. “Initially, I didn’t understand the seriousness of the situation and that time was of the essence. They told me I almost died and that I am a miracle.”
Spencer, the father of four grown children, moved to the Santa Clarita Valley in 1980. He is a general contractor who oversees and maintains almost 40 properties in Los Angeles County. Since undergoing the procedure in May 2016, followed by 10 days of rehabilitation, Spencer is back to work and functioning at almost normal. He recently came back to Henry Mayo for a special awards ceremony honoring Dr. Sushinky and was able to thank him in person.
“Everyone who took care of me at Henry Mayo was awesome,” he said. “They were attentive and caring. In my eyes, Dr. Sushinky is a rock star. He’s outstanding, loving and caring.”
The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recognize this hospital for achieving 85% or higher compliance with all Get With The Guideline® – Stroke Achievement Measures and 75% or higher compliance with five or more Get With The Guideline® – Stroke Quality Measures for two or more consecutive years and achieving Time to Intravenous Thrombolytic Therapy < 60 minutes in 50% or more of applicable acute ischemic stroke patients to improve quality of patient care and outcomes.
As an Advanced Primary Stroke Center, Henry Mayo has been recognized by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. To learn more, visit www.henrymayo.com.