Battling stroke and COVID-19 at the same time

Battling stroke and COVID-19 at the same time

COVID-19, a hole in his heart, and a massive stroke? Despite how daunting it sounds, 39-year-old Manitowoc, Wis. resident John Wilde was young and in good health when he suffered a stroke while at work and had to be quickly transferred from a local hospital to Aurora BayCare Medical Center for a mechanical thrombectomy. It was then he found out he was COVID-positive and also had a heart defect.

But thanks to interventional neurologist Dr. Ziad Darkhabani and his team, John was released from the hospital after a short three-day stay and with absolutely no deficiencies.

Dr. Darkhabani noted the importance of acting swiftly and getting John to a Comprehensive Stroke Center (like the one at Aurora BayCare) as soon as possible, which helped to save his life.

“The fact that he came in really early, his brain sustained the ability to stay alive until we were able to open the vessel,” said Dr. Darkhabani.

As for John, he is happy to be here, and his family is grateful – especially his wife Elizabeth.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I didn’t expect him back home so soon,” expressed Elizabeth. “I’ve worked with stroke patients for over 20 years, so I know how it goes, and it doesn’t normally go like that. I’m just glad I got my Johnny back.”

John said, “Thank you to the doctors and nurses for what they did. They did everything they possibly could to get me back on my feet. Dr. Darkhabani was so good at what he did.”

Anyone can suffer a stroke. There are warning signs to look for, but they’re not always present at the time of a stroke. It’s important to remember the acronym B.E. F.A.S.T. if you suspect someone is having a stroke.

B.E. F.A.S.T. stands for:

B: Balance loss

E: Eyes, meaning vision is blurry

F: Face drooping

A: Arm drooping to one side

S: Slurred speech, difficulty speaking or being unable to speak

T: Terrible headache and Time to call 911 if you notice any of the above

If you’re concerned about your stroke risk, you can take this free online quiz to learn more.

You shouldn’t let COVID-19 keep you from seeking the health care you need. Read how Advocate Aurora Health is taking additional steps to keep you safe with its Safe Care Promise.

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About the Author

Brianna Wunsch
Brianna Wunsch

Brianna Wunsch, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator for Advocate Aurora Health with a BA in public affairs from University of Wisconsin - Green Bay. In her free time, Brianna enjoys living an active lifestyle through biking, hiking and working out at the gym, but even more than that, she especially loves spending quality time with her two cats (Arthur and Loki), son and husband.