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David Acheson – Stroke Success Story

Stroke care at its finest at Methodist Dallas Medical Center

David Acheson and his best friend Roy Sample Despite David Acheson's stroke, he and his
Best friend, Roy Sample (left), still set
time each week to go to lunch, hit the gym,
and, hopefully soon, play some golf.

David Acheson may not remember the series of events after he had a stroke on April 26, 2011, but they included neurosurgery, two comas, weeks on a ventilator, and round-the-clock care from the medical team his family and friends credit for his life today.

Paramedics raced the Cedar Hill retiree to Methodist Dallas Medical Center, a Stroke Center designated by The Joint Commission.

"We have the people, the experience, the teamwork, and the expertise to provide the best care for critically ill neurologic and neurosurgical patients," says Gregg Shalan, MD, independently practicing neurointensivist on the medical staff at Methodist Dallas and medical director of the hospital's neurocritical care unit and neuroscience center.

Emergency neurosurgery

Hemorrhaging had caused swelling in Mr. Acheson's brain, requiring a ventriculostomy, or what the Acheson family calls the "brain drain," because the procedure drains the fluid collecting there. Bala Giri, MD, an independently practicing neurosurgeon on the Methodist Dallas medical staff, performed the lifesaving procedure.

On May 1, Mr. Acheson was moved from intensive care to the neurocritical care unit, where he remained in a coma for more than a week.

"That's an absolutely amazing unit," his wife, Marilyn, says. "Dr. Shalan was there every single day advocating for the best care for David. And the nurses are specially trained to watch and monitor stroke and brain injury patients."

Mr. Acheson's friend of 30 years, Roy Sample, also recognized the nursing excellence during his daily visits.

"You knew it meant more to them than just a job," he says. "They had an interest in patients that transcends going to work each day."

On the mend

A few weeks later, the constant attention and care paid off. Mr. Acheson emerged from his coma, was gradually weaned off the ventilator, and eventually transferred to a rehabilitation facility. Since completing his rehabilitation program, he continues to improve with the help of family and friends and is now back to enjoying his retirement.

"I was very fortunate that all the people who assisted me had all the right tools and were in the right places, or else I wouldn't be here today," he says.

His best friend couldn't agree more.

"I think I can say for all of us that we're extremely pleased with the professionalism, the staff, and certainly the physicians and specialists that attended to David," Sample says. "All of us felt he had the best possible care."

From the summer 2012 edition of Shine magazine.