After being declared brain dead, a second opinion gave this man another chance at life

After being declared brain dead, a second opinion gave this man another chance at life

Dean Fasel of San Pierre, Indiana, was at work in April when he told his co-workers he thought his brain was bleeding. As it turns out, he was right.

Moments later, Dean passed out and was rushed to a local hospital.

“Dean suffered a brain hemorrhage as a result of an arteriovenous malformation,” says Dr. Hamad Farhat, a neurosurgeon at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill. “An arteriovenous malformation occurs when there is an abnormal connection between the arteries and veins. It can progress over a patient’s lifetimes and may present stroke-like symptoms.

Initially, when rushed to the hospital, doctors believed Dean to be brain-dead. However, Dr. Farhat’s second opinion confirmed Dean still had minimal brain activity.

He was rushed to Christ Medical Center by helicopter, where Dr. Farhat performed surgery immediately. Five days later, Dean underwent a second procedure and then spent two weeks at Advocate Christ recovering and three weeks doing rehab back in Indiana.

“Dean is lucky to be alive. He would not have survived had he not arrived as quickly as he did and undergone immediate surgery,” says Dr. Farhat.

While Dean now walks with a cane, he and his wife Carol say they are grateful that he is alive and has no cognitive disabilities or problems.

“I’m thankful he was working with other people and not fishing or hunting on his own,” says Carol. “I don’t think he would have survived had nobody been there to help him. There has been a lot of support from family and friends.”

Dr. Farhat says, “Dean’s story is a true testament to the power of being aware of one’s own health, the support of others and professional medical collaboration.”

Photo Credit: Kale Wilk, Northwest Indiana Times

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Jamie Bonnema

Jamie Bonnema, health enews contributor, is a specialist of public affairs and marketing at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. She earned her BA in communications from DePaul University in Chicago. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, going to concerts, and cheering on the Chicago Cubs.

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