Silver Cross Hospital

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Eric Lesiak is no stranger to excruciating headaches. He had lived with them for years. But this time was different. Eric had been out running errands late in the day. His head hurt and he wasn’t able to move.

“It felt like I was drugged,” said the 39 year-old Frankfort resident.

 Lesiak barely managed to drive himself home where he took his usual dose of aspirin, but that didn’t work.  He felt jittery and couldn’t stop shaking his arm.  Finally falling asleep, he awoke the next morning nauseous and had difficulty speaking.

 On July 16, 2013, Lesiak’s mother drove him to Hedges Clinic where Dr. Orest Hordysky directed him to the Silver Cross Emergency Department for a CT scan and MRI.  Silver Cross Hospital is designated as a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission with a staff of experienced specialists offering the full continuum of care –from diagnosis to treatment to rehabilitation, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Eric was experiencing a hemorrhagic stroke, a kind of bleeding in the brain. Hemorrhagic strokes account for about 15% of all strokes, yet are responsible for more than 30% percent of all stroke deaths. 

Dr. Harish Shownkeen, medical director of the Neuro Interventional Surgery Program with the Silver Cross Neuroscience Institute, confirmed Eric had a brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM), which is an abnormal connection between the arteries and veins, as well as a cerebral aneurysm.  

“AVMs are usually congenital and go undiagnosed until the patient has symptoms such as headaches or seizures,” says Dr. Shownkeen.  “In serious cases like Eric’s, the blood vessels rupture, causing a hemorrhage. However, once diagnosed, we can often treat a brain AVM and offer patients options of multiple modalities.”  

Dr. Shownkeen took Eric immediately to the endovascular lab where he performed a cerebral angiogram to see exactly which vessels were involved. There, he embolized the AVM to stop the blood flow into the abnormal veins and arteries and reduce the risk for further bleeding in Eric’s brain.  Eric spent a week in the ICU followed by another week on the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago’s (RIC) inpatient unit at Silver Cross Hospital.  RIC has been ranked the “Best Rehabilitation Hospital in America” by U.S. News and World Report for 24 consecutive years.  And through a special partnership, RIC ensures Silver Cross patients receive an unmatched recovery experience close to home. 

“Everyone thought I would be in the hospital for months, but with the help of RIC’s therapy team at Silver Cross, I was home in just a couple weeks.” 

Eric is back to work with the Village of Frankfort’s Water Department.  “I am lucky that I went to Silver Cross where Dr. Shownkeen and his team were able to diagnose my AVM and ultimately save my life,” says Eric.  

Eric returned to Silver Cross Hospital as an outpatient for elective treatment of his cerebral aneurysm by Dr. Shownkeen to reduce his risk for future hemorrhagic strokes. 

To learn more about the warning signs of stroke and treatment available at the Silver Cross Neuroscience Institute, request a free Stroke Awareness Kit. 

Located at 1900 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox, IL 60451   Main Phone (815) 300-1100

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Physicians on Silver Cross Hospital’s Medical Staff have expertise in their areas of practice to meet the needs of patients seeking their care.  These physicians are independent practitioners on the Medical Staff and are not the agents or employees of Silver Cross Hospital. They treat patients based upon their independent medical judgment and they bill patients separately for their services.