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Specialist Arrives at Stony Brook University Hospital in The Nick of Time for 60 Year-Old Stroke Patient


Brookhaven Hamlet Resident on the Road to Recovery following Cutting Edge Brain Procedure

Henry Woo Joseph Chibbaro didn't know what hit him. A former star baseball pitcher for Cortland State with a perfect game under his belt, the 60 year-old Brookhaven Hamlet resident had been the picture of health since his baseball playing days. He's been a staple as head bartender at the Bellport County Club after retiring as a Physical Education teacher in New York City schools, and he enjoys a weekly game of golf every Monday at the same club with his regular foursome.

But Joe had been hospitalized twice in the past month, diagnosed with two ischemic strokes (TIAs) or blockage of the arteries in the brain. He was given medication to manage his condition, and discharged from a local community hospital after the second event on August 3. He went back to work at the club the following week, when his arm started bothering him again. He managed to work through the weekend (a decision he now regrets) and visited his neurologist on Monday.

It was obvious from the progression of the weakness to his right side that the medication prescribed to dissolve the blockage in his brain was not working. He was rushed to an area hospital, and immediately transferred to Stony Brook University Medical Center under the care of Neurosurgeon, Henry Woo, M.D., head of the Medical Center's new Cerebrovascular Center.

Dr. Woo, who arrived at Stony Brook on August 1 after five years at the Cleveland Clinic, performed angiography and determined that Joseph was a candidate for the Wingspan - Gateway PTA Balloon and Stent System, which is used to open blocked arteries in the brain of patients after medications have been shown to not work. Dr. Woo says by having the Wingspan procedure, Joe's chances of experiencing a life-threatening or life-altering stroke is significantly reduced.

"Joseph is an historic patient," said Dr. Woo. "He's the first patient on Long Island to undergo this type of procedure with this system, and we are pleased to say, it was a great success."

Before Dr. Woo joined Stony Brook, Mr. Chibbaro would have had to been transferred to a hospital off Long Island for this modality; there are only three institutions in New York that offer the Wingspan system. Dr. Woo brings a new area of expertise to Stony Brook for patients requiring treatment for endovascular management of acute stroke, as well as many other neurovascular medical issues.

"I was in a good mood when I got here, because Dr. Woo offered a solution," said Joe from his hospital bed at Stony Brook University Medical Center. "He was great; he explained everything in terms we could understand. And now, my hand is slowly getting better, and although it is still weak, I think with therapy I should be able to work and play golf again that is my goal."

Stony Brook University Medical Center is the only academic medical center on Long Island. It comprises Stony Brook University School of Medicine and Stony Brook University Hospital, which is the only tertiary care hospital in Suffolk County. With 504 beds and 4,800 employees, it is also the largest hospital in Suffolk County. The Stroke Program at Stony Brook is certified with the Gold Seal of Approval as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission and is certified by the New York State Department of Health. Stony Brook is one of nine hospitals in New York State, and the only hospital on Long Island with Primary Stroke Center Certification by the Joint Commission, and was one of the first three hospitals to be certified in New York when receiving initial certification in 2004.

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