'It's like your house is on fire': Quick intervention is key to stroke recovery

Community Jul 01, 2020 by Mike Pearson Stoney Creek News

While he never expected to spend Mother’s Day in a Hamilton hospital, Murray Quanz considers himself a very lucky man.

Back on May 10, Quanz was getting ready for a virtual visit with his mother-in-law, when his wife, Deborah, noticed something was wrong.

“I was trying to close a door that I should be pulling open,” Quanz said.

Deborah initially thought her husband might be joking around. But she saw his face had drooped and his left side was getting weaker, causing her husband to slump over.

Deborah recognized the symptoms of a stroke and called 911 right away.

“The doctor had described it to me later on as saying, ‘When you’re having a stroke like that, it’s like your house is on fire. The sooner we put that out, the more of the house we’re going to save,’” Quanz recalled.

An ambulance arrived promptly and Quanz was rushed from his Grimsby home to Hamilton General Hospital. A CT scan revealed a blood clot in his brain.

Quanz had a specialized clot retrieval procedure called an endovascular thrombectomy. Doctors removed a large clot in his brain and provided some “clot-busting” drugs for two smaller clots.

“I’ve had a fairly nice recovery since then,” Quanz said on June 29, adding that he feels 90 per cent back to normal.

Since his hospital stay, doctors have focused their attention on what caused the blood clot in Quanz’s brain. Quanz, 51, has always led a healthy, active lifestyle. So conventional stroke risk factors, like high cholesterol and blood pressure, weren’t to blame.

“(Doctors) found a hole in my heart that had been there since I was born,” Quanz noted. “They never know for sure, but they suspect that was the reason.”

In medical terms, Quanz has a patent foramen ovale (PFO) – a hole in the heart that is present in approximately 25 per cent of people. For most, the hole is very small and does not cause problems. But in others, the hole could be large enough to act as the potential source of clots and strokes.

As of June 29, Quanz was slated for a followup appointment with a cardiologist to determine whether doctors may consider a procedure to close the hole.

While he doesn’t remember all of the events of May 10, Quanz eventually realized things were operating differently at the hospital in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although hospitals are once again allowing visitors, at that time Deborah and Quanz’s other family members, had to wait by the phone by updates.

Quanz’s two sons live in Montreal and Ottawa and were planning on visiting for Canada Day.

Later on May 10, after Quanz had his procedure, hospital staff set up a FaceTime video conference, allowing the family to finally connect.

“That was really nice for me, because I got to see them and they got to see me and know that I was OK and things were going to be OK,” Quanz recalled.

Today Quanz feels lucky and thankful that Deborah recognized the signs of a stroke and called 911. He’s also grateful for his procedure. While it’s now considered the standard of care, that wasn’t the case just a few years ago.

Quanz was surprised to learn the first person to receive an endovascular thrombectomy at the General was Riley Dunda, who suffered a major stroke just shy of his 19th birthday in May 2014.

“I thought, that’s crazy, because Riley Dunda lives around the corner from me, and I know the family from hockey,” Quanz recalled. “I reached out to Riley and said thanks for taking one for us all.”

Quanz has no fears about returning to the hospital during the pandemic, for necessary follow-up appointments.

“It’s probably the safest place you can be,” he noted. “Everyone’s wearing their PPE (personal protective equipment) and they’re super cautious with it. I thought people were taking every precaution they could possibly take.”

At the time he was hospitalized, there were no outpatient physiotherapy services. Quanz instead took part in virtual physio sessions.

“I have nothing but praise for Hamilton Health Sciences,” he said. “I’ve rarely been in the hospital. They were fantastic.”

An avid guitarist, Quanz is strumming his way through his ongoing stroke recovery, as a way to keep up his fine motor skills. Since his procedure, Quanz and friend, Bob Frisen, wrote a song called, “Sunshine Up Ahead” to stay positive during the pandemic.

Speaking in general terms, Dr. Stephen Kelly, surgeon in chief at Hamilton Health Sciences, encouraged patients to seek medical attention when they are ill, even during the pandemic.

“Hospitals are safe places to have care and if you need to come to a hospital, you should come to a hospital,” he said.

Kelly spoke to Hamilton Community News following a week of on-call service at the Juravinski Hospital, in late June, where he noticed an uptick of activity.

“I can tell you personally that people are coming back to the hospitals, as they should, because they need their care.”

'It's like your house is on fire': Quick intervention is key to stroke recovery

Hospitals are safe places to seek care, says patient

Community Jul 01, 2020 by Mike Pearson Stoney Creek News

While he never expected to spend Mother’s Day in a Hamilton hospital, Murray Quanz considers himself a very lucky man.

Back on May 10, Quanz was getting ready for a virtual visit with his mother-in-law, when his wife, Deborah, noticed something was wrong.

“I was trying to close a door that I should be pulling open,” Quanz said.

Deborah initially thought her husband might be joking around. But she saw his face had drooped and his left side was getting weaker, causing her husband to slump over.

Related Content

Deborah recognized the symptoms of a stroke and called 911 right away.

“The doctor had described it to me later on as saying, ‘When you’re having a stroke like that, it’s like your house is on fire. The sooner we put that out, the more of the house we’re going to save,’” Quanz recalled.

An ambulance arrived promptly and Quanz was rushed from his Grimsby home to Hamilton General Hospital. A CT scan revealed a blood clot in his brain.

Quanz had a specialized clot retrieval procedure called an endovascular thrombectomy. Doctors removed a large clot in his brain and provided some “clot-busting” drugs for two smaller clots.

“I’ve had a fairly nice recovery since then,” Quanz said on June 29, adding that he feels 90 per cent back to normal.

Since his hospital stay, doctors have focused their attention on what caused the blood clot in Quanz’s brain. Quanz, 51, has always led a healthy, active lifestyle. So conventional stroke risk factors, like high cholesterol and blood pressure, weren’t to blame.

“(Doctors) found a hole in my heart that had been there since I was born,” Quanz noted. “They never know for sure, but they suspect that was the reason.”

In medical terms, Quanz has a patent foramen ovale (PFO) – a hole in the heart that is present in approximately 25 per cent of people. For most, the hole is very small and does not cause problems. But in others, the hole could be large enough to act as the potential source of clots and strokes.

As of June 29, Quanz was slated for a followup appointment with a cardiologist to determine whether doctors may consider a procedure to close the hole.

While he doesn’t remember all of the events of May 10, Quanz eventually realized things were operating differently at the hospital in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although hospitals are once again allowing visitors, at that time Deborah and Quanz’s other family members, had to wait by the phone by updates.

Quanz’s two sons live in Montreal and Ottawa and were planning on visiting for Canada Day.

Later on May 10, after Quanz had his procedure, hospital staff set up a FaceTime video conference, allowing the family to finally connect.

“That was really nice for me, because I got to see them and they got to see me and know that I was OK and things were going to be OK,” Quanz recalled.

Today Quanz feels lucky and thankful that Deborah recognized the signs of a stroke and called 911. He’s also grateful for his procedure. While it’s now considered the standard of care, that wasn’t the case just a few years ago.

Quanz was surprised to learn the first person to receive an endovascular thrombectomy at the General was Riley Dunda, who suffered a major stroke just shy of his 19th birthday in May 2014.

“I thought, that’s crazy, because Riley Dunda lives around the corner from me, and I know the family from hockey,” Quanz recalled. “I reached out to Riley and said thanks for taking one for us all.”

Quanz has no fears about returning to the hospital during the pandemic, for necessary follow-up appointments.

“It’s probably the safest place you can be,” he noted. “Everyone’s wearing their PPE (personal protective equipment) and they’re super cautious with it. I thought people were taking every precaution they could possibly take.”

At the time he was hospitalized, there were no outpatient physiotherapy services. Quanz instead took part in virtual physio sessions.

“I have nothing but praise for Hamilton Health Sciences,” he said. “I’ve rarely been in the hospital. They were fantastic.”

An avid guitarist, Quanz is strumming his way through his ongoing stroke recovery, as a way to keep up his fine motor skills. Since his procedure, Quanz and friend, Bob Frisen, wrote a song called, “Sunshine Up Ahead” to stay positive during the pandemic.

Speaking in general terms, Dr. Stephen Kelly, surgeon in chief at Hamilton Health Sciences, encouraged patients to seek medical attention when they are ill, even during the pandemic.

“Hospitals are safe places to have care and if you need to come to a hospital, you should come to a hospital,” he said.

Kelly spoke to Hamilton Community News following a week of on-call service at the Juravinski Hospital, in late June, where he noticed an uptick of activity.

“I can tell you personally that people are coming back to the hospitals, as they should, because they need their care.”

'It's like your house is on fire': Quick intervention is key to stroke recovery

Hospitals are safe places to seek care, says patient

Community Jul 01, 2020 by Mike Pearson Stoney Creek News

While he never expected to spend Mother’s Day in a Hamilton hospital, Murray Quanz considers himself a very lucky man.

Back on May 10, Quanz was getting ready for a virtual visit with his mother-in-law, when his wife, Deborah, noticed something was wrong.

“I was trying to close a door that I should be pulling open,” Quanz said.

Deborah initially thought her husband might be joking around. But she saw his face had drooped and his left side was getting weaker, causing her husband to slump over.

Related Content

Deborah recognized the symptoms of a stroke and called 911 right away.

“The doctor had described it to me later on as saying, ‘When you’re having a stroke like that, it’s like your house is on fire. The sooner we put that out, the more of the house we’re going to save,’” Quanz recalled.

An ambulance arrived promptly and Quanz was rushed from his Grimsby home to Hamilton General Hospital. A CT scan revealed a blood clot in his brain.

Quanz had a specialized clot retrieval procedure called an endovascular thrombectomy. Doctors removed a large clot in his brain and provided some “clot-busting” drugs for two smaller clots.

“I’ve had a fairly nice recovery since then,” Quanz said on June 29, adding that he feels 90 per cent back to normal.

Since his hospital stay, doctors have focused their attention on what caused the blood clot in Quanz’s brain. Quanz, 51, has always led a healthy, active lifestyle. So conventional stroke risk factors, like high cholesterol and blood pressure, weren’t to blame.

“(Doctors) found a hole in my heart that had been there since I was born,” Quanz noted. “They never know for sure, but they suspect that was the reason.”

In medical terms, Quanz has a patent foramen ovale (PFO) – a hole in the heart that is present in approximately 25 per cent of people. For most, the hole is very small and does not cause problems. But in others, the hole could be large enough to act as the potential source of clots and strokes.

As of June 29, Quanz was slated for a followup appointment with a cardiologist to determine whether doctors may consider a procedure to close the hole.

While he doesn’t remember all of the events of May 10, Quanz eventually realized things were operating differently at the hospital in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although hospitals are once again allowing visitors, at that time Deborah and Quanz’s other family members, had to wait by the phone by updates.

Quanz’s two sons live in Montreal and Ottawa and were planning on visiting for Canada Day.

Later on May 10, after Quanz had his procedure, hospital staff set up a FaceTime video conference, allowing the family to finally connect.

“That was really nice for me, because I got to see them and they got to see me and know that I was OK and things were going to be OK,” Quanz recalled.

Today Quanz feels lucky and thankful that Deborah recognized the signs of a stroke and called 911. He’s also grateful for his procedure. While it’s now considered the standard of care, that wasn’t the case just a few years ago.

Quanz was surprised to learn the first person to receive an endovascular thrombectomy at the General was Riley Dunda, who suffered a major stroke just shy of his 19th birthday in May 2014.

“I thought, that’s crazy, because Riley Dunda lives around the corner from me, and I know the family from hockey,” Quanz recalled. “I reached out to Riley and said thanks for taking one for us all.”

Quanz has no fears about returning to the hospital during the pandemic, for necessary follow-up appointments.

“It’s probably the safest place you can be,” he noted. “Everyone’s wearing their PPE (personal protective equipment) and they’re super cautious with it. I thought people were taking every precaution they could possibly take.”

At the time he was hospitalized, there were no outpatient physiotherapy services. Quanz instead took part in virtual physio sessions.

“I have nothing but praise for Hamilton Health Sciences,” he said. “I’ve rarely been in the hospital. They were fantastic.”

An avid guitarist, Quanz is strumming his way through his ongoing stroke recovery, as a way to keep up his fine motor skills. Since his procedure, Quanz and friend, Bob Frisen, wrote a song called, “Sunshine Up Ahead” to stay positive during the pandemic.

Speaking in general terms, Dr. Stephen Kelly, surgeon in chief at Hamilton Health Sciences, encouraged patients to seek medical attention when they are ill, even during the pandemic.

“Hospitals are safe places to have care and if you need to come to a hospital, you should come to a hospital,” he said.

Kelly spoke to Hamilton Community News following a week of on-call service at the Juravinski Hospital, in late June, where he noticed an uptick of activity.

“I can tell you personally that people are coming back to the hospitals, as they should, because they need their care.”