In what could almost be described as a holiday miracle, Raymond Lynch, 34, was discharged from Glendale Adventist Medical Center on Jan. 5, only 48 hours after suffering a debilitating stroke.
On Saturday, Lynch along with the doctors and medical staff that performed a live-saving procedure on him, attended Stroke Awareness Day at the Staples Center, where the L.A. Kings outscored the Anaheim Ducks, 4-1.
At an arena booth, Lynch — a hockey player himself — joined his neurologist, Mikayel Grigoryan, to help educate attendees about the warning signs of a stroke and what to do when one hits.
"If you have any of the typical stroke symptoms, don't call your friends, don't call your neighbors," Grigoryan said. "Get to the hospital."
The morning of Jan. 3, Lynch woke up after a late night hockey game in Westminster with an unfamiliar level of pain in his head. Fortunately for Lynch, his girlfriend noticed him "walking funny" and recognized other stroke symptoms.
A call to 911 led to Lynch being transported to White Memorial Medical Center in Boyle Heights where he was treated with clot-busting medication. However, it was only after being taken to Glendale Adventist for a special procedure that the stroke became a reality for Lynch.
"In the ambulance ride over, I was staring at my hand trying to use 'the power of the force' to move it," Lynch said. But it didn't move. "It was then that it really started to set in."
At Glendale Adventist, Grigoryan discovered that Lynch had what's known as a tandem occlusion of the carotid artery — a dangerous double clot that is difficult to treat. The clot-dissolving drug Lynch was given could not take care of the large artery blockage in his brain and, therefore, it required a special procedure.
A small wire cage called a stent retriever was used to reopen, capture and remove Lynch's clot, allowing for the normal flow of blood to his brain again.
"Stroke is the ultimate emergency," Grigoryan said "When we get a call that a patient is suffering a stroke and they need our help, we drop everything we're doing and rush to the hospital."
Lynch walked out of the hospital only a few days later and now, once he is off blood thinners, he can start playing hockey again. Lynch said he doesn't suffer from any of the physical problems normally experienced after a stroke, and he said he is grateful to Grigoryan and the staff at Glendale Adventist.
"Every time he does an angiogram on his patients, he has to suit up in a lead vest as he is exposing himself to radiation to save other people's lives," Lynch said. "This makes him nothing short of a superhero to me."
Jeff Landa, firstname.lastname@example.org