Jessie Wilson was in town to visit his daughter when an aneurysm in his brain ruptured. His wife was able to do CPR and get him to the hospital, but he needed surgery immediately.
“He wasn’t dead, but he was close,” says Dr. Shaye Moskowitz. “There are very few things you can do as bad as a car accident to your head, and this is it.”
Dr. Moskowitz removed half of Wilson’s skull to repair the aneurysm, remove a blood clot and clean out all of the blood that had escaped in and around the brain. After six weeks in the hospital, Wilson was fully recovered. “He’s entirely normal,” Moskowitz says. “I think the only thing he says be doesn’t do now is play softball; he only coaches. He did fantastic.”
Doctors back home in Michigan tell Wilson his recovery is unbelievable. “I also hear them say, ‘You know most patients we see at this point (after a massive brain aneurysm) are not able to stand,” Wilson says.
Moskowitz understands that too, and it’s why he is passionate about improving treatment and education about stroke. “Stroke is the leading cause of disability,” he says. “Stroke is terrible. It doesn’t necessarily kill people with the same speed [as heart attack or cancer]. It wings you.” The results can be years or decades without the ability to speak, walk, work or live a normally healthy life.
Much of Moskowitz’s work include vascular neurosurgery, in which he repairs aneurysms through the blood vessels to prevent them from rupturing. He has played a major role in building Southern Colorado’s first Comprehensive Stroke Center and helping Memorial Hospital receive that elite designation. Moskowitz also has been recently appointed to the Colorado Stroke Advisory Board by Gov. John Hickenlooper.
“This is what I was meant to do,” Moskowitz says. “Stroke is a terrible problem, and it’s our responsibility to do better. Partnering with a hospital system that really wants it and a community that really needs it isn’t a bad problem for me to undertake. It’s a whole lifetime of work—I’m OK with that.”
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