Jon Garkow was just wrapping up a meeting at work when it began. His hand started clenching involuntarily. He fell to the ground, his entire right side completely numb. “It was scary and strange,” he says. “I knew something was very wrong.”
Colleagues quickly called 911, and an ambulance rushed Jon to Huntington Hospital. He was having a stroke.
Jon’s daughter Ashley was at work when she got the call. “I just kept thinking, ‘Please let him be OK. Please don’t take away the only parent I have left,’” she says. She started for the hospital and, on her way, got another call. Our staff spoke with her and — as Jon could not speak for himself — received her approval to perform a mechanical thrombectomy. As a result, by the time she arrived, doctors were already conducting the procedure — placing a stent to open the affected artery and removing the blockage that had caused Jon’s stroke.
Afterwards, Ashley visited with her dad and talked to the specialist who had performed the lifesaving procedure. She also met Jon’s stroke case worker, who told her what to expect during Jon’s recovery. “The doctor explained everything in a way that I could understand,” Ashley says, “and his case worker was so happy my dad was OK that she was teary-eyed. That the hospital staff cares so much is amazing to me,” she adds. “We’re grateful for their compassion and their empathy.”
Jon spent four days in the hospital, participating in physical, occupational, and speech therapy to help him recover. As part of his care, doctors also inserted a small device, known as an inferior vena cava filter, into a vein below the heart, in order to reduce the risk of any newly formed clots moving into his lungs.
Today, he is fully recovered. “Dad’s neurologist calls him a ‘medical miracle,’” Ashley says, “because his recovery was so fast. It’s because the team at Huntington Hospital was so efficient. They were able to get blood flowing to his brain sooner, and it made all the difference in the world. The hospital has truly been a lifesaver.”