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Staten Island, NY
"I thank Drs. Vez and Liebman and their team for their expertise, diligence, and knowledge in saving me and giving me another chance at life, of which, I will savor every minute."
When Diana McCumiskey and her husband Butch headed from Staten Island to the Jersey Shore for a brief vacation, a helicopter ride to Trenton was not on their list of must do’s. However, the morning after their guests left, Diana found herself with a severe headache, which radiated from the front to the back of her head instantly.
Diana says had her company still been there she probably would have just ignored the headache despite its severity. Fortunately, with her company gone, her husband of 33 years, Butch, took her to the emergency room at an area hospital.
When Diana arrived, a CT scan was done. It was discovered that she had bleeding in her brain and needed to be sent to a comprehensive cerebrovascular center immediately. Her doctor in the emergency room told her he wanted to send her where he would go if he needed surgery: the Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center of New Jersey at Capital Health.
The rest of the day went so fast there was little time to think. Diana was immediately transported by helicopter to Trenton while her children researched where she was going. As Diana recalls it, “little did I know I was placed in the hands of the most competent doctors: Dr. Vez and Dr. Liebman.”
Diana was bleeding from a ruptured aneurysm. She was taken to the hospital’s dedicated neuro operating suite located just downstairs from the hospital’s helipad, where coils were placed in the aneurysm through a minimally invasive procedure to create a “clot” so as to stop the bleeding.
It was only afterwards, she says, when she read about her condition that she truly understood just how lucky she was. For Diana, the nurses in the hospital’s Neurosurgical ICU were living angels. “I couldn’t have asked for a better team to take care of me,” she says.
To her husband it was remarkable how comfortable things were at Capital Health despite the fact that they knew nothing about the area or the hospital. “We could have been so uncomfortable, instead we felt so at home,” he recalls. It became apparent to Butch that had they been anywhere else, Diana “wouldn’t be here now.”
Butch, an eternal optimist, and Diana with a sharp sense of humor, now look at the experience as a reminder that each day is a gift. Having known each other since she was 16, this was one more thing to get through together. Now Diana is committed to doing her follow-ups with Dr. Vez and insists on driving to Hamilton, NJ from Staten Island for her appointments. When her friends ask why she doesn’t just do the follow-up care in New York, she tells them quite matter of factly that “she goes where Dr. Vez goes.”
“Everyday, I thank God that if this had to happen to me, He put me in the right place at the right time to meet the right people who sent me to the best hospital, with the best doctors and staff. Mostly, He allowed me to survive odds that were easily against me. In turn, I thank Drs. Vez and Liebman and their team for their expertise, diligence, and knowledge in saving me and giving me another chance at life, of which, I will savor every minute.”