A Lazarus Patient And The Limits Of A Lifesaving Stroke Procedure

On July 17, 2014 Kurt Hinrichs, of Gladstone, Mo., went to bed early. As often happens, he woke in the middle of the night. When he tried to get out of bed, he crashed to the floor, which woke his wife, Alice.

“At first it was like, ‘What’s going on?’ ” Alice says. “Are you dreaming? Are you sleepwalking?”

Kurt wasn’t responding to anything Alice asked him, so she called 911. “I [was] thinking, ‘this is a nightmare,’ ” Kurt says.

By the time the ambulance arrived, just a few minutes later, Kurt wasn’t speaking and his entire right side was paralyzed. Paramedics recognized that Kurt was having a stroke.

When they wheeled Kurt out of the house, Alice thought he might never come home again. And if he did, he would be bedridden or in a wheelchair. “I really didn’t have a lot of hope that my husband would be normal again, ever,” she says.

Speeding towards St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., Kurt realized this was no nightmare. He was awake, “but there was something major and massively wrong with me,” Kurt says.

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