A 48-year-old’s miraculous recovery from a stroke

A 48-year-old’s miraculous recovery from a stroke

It’s common for people in their 40s to think they are too young to have a stroke. And, while it may be rare, studies suggest the risk of stroke may be increasing for those between 20 and 54 years old.

Joe DeVita, 48, is one of the growing number of younger Americans who have had a stroke.

One morning last December, his alarm went off. When he failed to hit the snooze button, his wife, Melinda DeVita, rolled over to complain. He was lying next to her, staring straight ahead, unable to move or talk.  When paramedics arrived, they said Joe DeVita had experienced a stroke.

“Joe is really one of our miracles,” says Dr. Thomas Grobelny, neurointerventionalist at the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. “Because he had the stroke in the middle of the night, there was no way to determine the exact time, which ruled out some of our early interventions.  Instead, I performed a thrombectomy  – a minimally-invasive, interventional procedure to retrieve the blood clot from his brain.”

Without the procedure, he may have had no chance of recovery, says Dr. Grobelny.

Joe DaVita woke up the next day in the Intensive Care Unit. He sat up and walked that day, which amazed his wife.

“It was a miracle, nothing less,” says Melinda DeVita.

“I still have a numbing sensation in my arm sometimes, a slight hearing loss and I struggle every now and then with my speech,” he says. “But when I think about what could have happened, I feel so lucky.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer these five healthy lifestyle tips which may help prevent a stroke:

  1. Eat a healthy diet
  2. Maintain a healthy weight
  3. Get enough exercise
  4. Do not smoke
  5. Limit alcohol use

Joe DaVita will be honored by the Chicago Bears at the season opener home game on Sunday, September  13 and have the opportunity to unfurl the “Bear Down” flag during pregame festivities.

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  1. If you think you or someone is having a stroke call 911 .
    Immediate care can reduce and sometimes eliminate the debilitating effects from a stroke.
    Every Advocate hospital is a certified stroke center and Lutheran and Christ have achieved the highest level of stroke designation as comprehensive stroke centers. All Advocate hospitals can provide emergent stroke management and also triage a stroke patients need (like Joe’s) for transfer to one of our comprehensive centers for treatment.

  2. And what routine screening tests are there to indicate potential strokes??? That’s lacking in this article….

  3. Evonne Woloshyn

    You should routinely monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol, heart and risk for diabetes. That will help in identifying any health issues that may lead to a stroke. It is also important to manage your weight, exercise and, if necessary, quit smoking. Family history can also be a factor. Discuss any concerns you may have about stroke with your primary care physician.

    Lynn Klassman, APN
    Stroke Program Coordinator
    Advocate Lutheran General Hospital

  4. This guy was surely extremely lucky. I was not. Had a stroke at night as well and am still struggling with walking and using my left arm…:(

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About the Author

Evonne Woloshyn
Evonne Woloshyn

Evonne Woloshyn, health enews contributor, is director of public affairs at Advocate Children's Hospital. Evonne began her career as an anchor and reporter in broadcast news. Over the past 20 years, she has worked in health care marketing in both Ohio and Illinois. Evonne loves to travel, spend time with family and is an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan!