Through a family friend, I’ve gotten an update on retired Sen. David Pryor, 82, who has been hospitalized at Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville since suffering a stroke Monday. The outlook is optimistic.
Said the family through the spokesman:
“He has made it through the first critical 48 hours. He is recovering as well as the doctors had hoped. They expect the progress to continue, but he faces an extended period of rehabilitation and physical therapy.”
Pryor’s condition is markedly better because of the speed with which treatment, including surgery, began.
The family added that visits are still restricted to family.
As luck, if that is the word, had it, Pryor was taken to a hospital that last year recruited a pair of doctors — brothers who’d fled religious persecution in Iran — who are experts in advanced stroke care.
This article in Arkansas Medical News last year tells about Drs. Mayshan and Mahan Ghiassi, said to be two of only about 100 surgeons in the U.S. trained in both endovascular and conventional neurosurgery. The opening of the article explains why their presence was important in surgery to deal with a stroke caused by a blood clot:
In just the past year, minimally invasive endovascular neurosurgery for strokes and other cerebrovascular conditions has become the preferred standard of care. When treated in a timely manner, patients paralyzed on one side and\or unable to speak are often able to walk and talk within an hour. That is accomplished by using radiological imaging to guide a tiny catheter from an artery in the groin to the site to be treated. Clots can be removed without the risks and recovery time associated with open surgery.
The doctors were recruited from Nashville to an underserved area with a high stroke rate and have had more work than expected, according to the article.
Given the current political context, I found the brothers’ journey to the U.S. illuminating:
The Ghiassi brothers were born in Iran. The family, members of the Baha’i faith persecuted in the predominantly Muslim country, fled in 1985. They spent a year in a refugee camp in Pakistan before they were sponsored and brought to Nashville, Tenn., when Mahan was 5 and Mayshan was 7. That is where the family continued to live up until the brothers finished medical school, residencies and fellowships at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Their parents relocated with their sons, their wives, and their grandchildren. Mahan has three children, and Mayshan has one with another expected soon.