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Monday, April 11, 2016 - Four-year-old boy’s life saved by innovative care at Sparrow Stroke Center

It was the stuff of a TV drama: A four-year-old boy has the symptoms of a stroke and loses mobility of his arms and legs, forcing a Physician to make an urgent, potentially life-saving decision as the boy’s anxious family looks on.

It happened recently at the Sparrow Stroke Center and little Gavin Ramirez of Owosso became one of the youngest Patients ever to receive the clot-busting drug known as tPA.

Within days, Gavin was back playing with his friends and had returned to his normal routine.

“Everyone was just amazing at Sparrow,” said Trisha Ockerman, Gavin’s mother.

The case reflects the importance of responding quickly to stroke symptoms – tPA must be administered within hours after a stroke occurs – and the quality care at Michigan’s first certified comprehensive stroke center.

Sparrow has a unit specifically dedicated to stroke victims, ensuring them faster, more comprehensive treatment by Physicians and Nurses with expertise in stroke care.

The incident began when Gavin – who has a congenital heart defect – felt ill at school and increasingly lost feeling on his left side, according to his mother.

He was brought to Sparrow and Mounzer Kassab, M.D., of the Sparrow Stroke Center, was called as part of the hospital’s quick response in treating potential stroke cases.

Dr. Kassab quickly diagnosed the stroke and, knowing time was of the essence, considered using tPA. However, Gavin’s youth presented a challenge.

“I just looked at (the Physician) and said, ‘If it was your child, what would you do?’” Ockerman said.

The question hit home with Dr. Kassab and she was satisfied with his answer.

Just minutes later, Gavin was giving Dr. Kassab a high five, showing that he had regained use of his arms and legs.

“It was emotional,” Dr. Kassab said. “I had tears in my eyes. Everyone was giving high fives.”

Said Gavin’s mom: “Dr. Kassab is like our miracle man.”

Sparrow’s dedicated team of specialists use state-of-the-art techniques to treat strokes, from tPA to other innovative practices. As the regional leader in stroke treatment, Sparrow provides varied options and our Physicians are the most skilled in mid-Michigan.

Choose Wisely. Choose Sparrow.

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