Patient Success Stories

Shirley Ryan AbilityLab at Silver Cross Hospital

In July 2017, Brian Wood of Braidwood had a life-changing event that began as the worst headache he’d ever had in his life!

“I had just started my work day as a carpenter foreman when I had a sudden headache that felt like I had been hit in the head with a baseball bat,” the 56-year-old Braidwood man explained.

“My co-workers called an ambulance to take me to the emergency room at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox for treatment. The doctors informed me the CT scan of my brain showed a ruptured brain aneurysm, and I would need surgery right away,” said Wood.

A brain or cerebral aneurysm is a weak spot on an artery in the brain that swells or bulges and fills with blood. It can put pressure on brain tissue and in some circumstances burst and cause serious health problems such as brain damage, stroke and even death.

During surgery, Wood underwent a complex procedure known as “coiling” of the aneurysm to prevent additional bleeding. Coiling involves approaching the aneurysm from inside the blood vessel so there’s no need to open the skull; small metal coils are inserted into the aneurysm through the arteries that run from the groin to the brain. The coils remain in the aneurysm. Since they can prevent a bleed or re-bleed, they’re not removed.

After the procedure, Wood had partial paralysis, which would require intense therapies to regain use of the impaired side of his body.

Fortunately, the treatment he needed was just a couple floors up at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab at Silver Cross in New Lenox (formerly the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago). The inpatient setting is ideal for patients who need an intense program of physical, occupational, developmental and speech therapies.

“At the AbilityLab, physicians, therapists and patients work together as an interdisciplinary team to set realistic goals for recovery and return to their highest level of function,” explains Dr. John Mikuzis, attending psychiatrist at Silver Cross. “Our team works closely with the patient, their family and other involved physicians to achieve these goals.”

The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab has been ranked the No. 1 rehabilitation hospital in American by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1991. The same specialized care that has earned the AbilityLab its preeminent reputation in advancing human ability is available at Silver Cross.

“I had a long road to recovery; it took almost 12 days after surgery for me to just wiggle my toes! I’ve had to relearn how to walk and do daily tasks that most take for granted,” Wood added. “But thanks to excellent therapists at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, I am walking, driving and getting back to my everyday normal!”

Click here for more information about inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation at Silver Cross.

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.