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‘A lucky man’: Sudbury stroke survivor shares his story

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A Sudbury-area stroke survivor is sharing their story with CTV News.

Sean Gilroy, 36, faced an uncertain future after having a stroke but has now made what doctors are calling a remarkable recovery thanks to a ground-breaking procedure.

The procedure known as Stroke EVT is now being offered at Health Sciences North (HSN) and staff told CTV News it is revolutionary.

Sean suffered a sudden and severe stroke in late 2020.

“I don’t know if I would be alive today to be honest,” Sean said, talking about the care he has received.

“That (death) could have been in the cards.”

Sean’s wife, Rebecca, was 29 weeks pregnant when he had his stroke.

She said it was the most terrifying day of her life.

“I thought that I was going to lose my husband,” Rebecca said.

“That my baby would never meet their dad.”

Doctors said that Sean was outside of the window of time where clot busting medication could assist his condition.

“He was experiencing a severe stroke where he couldn't move his right side and couldn't talk clearly,” said neurologist Ravinder-Jeet Singh.

“This was a very disabling stroke. So when we did the initial scan we found that there was a big clot.”

An extensive team of medical experts at HSN made the determination that Sean was a candidate for the EVT Stroke procedure.

“We use small devices – tiny tubes – which was passed from after puncturing one of the arteries in the groin or in the wrist,” said Dr. Ravinder-Jeet Singh.

“Then we go to the brain and either apply suction or we put small mesh tubes called stents to trap and pull the clot out. “

Susan Bursey, the regional program director of the Northeast Ontario Stroke Network, said prior to February 2020 patients in northeastern Ontario who sustained a stroke and might benefit from this specialized treatment had to be transported to southern Ontario.

The Gilroys now have a baby girl name Emma.

“As a wife and as a mom I am just thrilled,” said Rebecca.

“It still surreal every day that he is here and that he is doing everything that he could do before.”

Sean said his family is very lucky.

“Not only were we lucky enough to have Emma but I am lucky enough to have recovered to a point where I am going to be able to do a lot of the things that I imagined I would have been able to do with her,” he said.

Hospital officials said the EVT procedure was first offered at HSN in February of 2020 and Since then 115 patients from across the northeast have benefited from the life-saving procedure. 

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