BY AMBER SMITH
Rajeev Saini, MD, typically leaves for work in the morning and doesn’t come home until evening. He came home at lunchtime on May 18 to check on his 16-year-old daughter, who was home sick.
Saini is a doctor of internal medicine who practices in both Fulton and Baldwinsville, near where he lives with his wife and children, and his 81-year-old father, Jagdish M. Saini. Dr. Saini spoke with his father briefly before he went upstairs to check on his daughter.
Several minutes later he came downstairs. “I’m leaving,” he said to his father. For a moment, he thought nothing of the man’s silence. The elder Saini is hard of hearing. Something compelled Saini. He went to his father.
“I could see that his face was drooping. He tried to talk, and he couldn’t,” Saini recalls. The man couldn’t move his right arm or leg.
The doctor recognized signs of stroke, of course, but he didn’t want to think this was happening to his father. His daughter prompted him to act: “Don’t you think we should call 911?”
An ambulance arrived within 10 minutes. Saini asked the rescue crew to take his father to Upstate University Hospital. “I trained at Upstate,” he says. “I knew they had a good stroke program.”
Saini was impressed with the care his father received.
“By the time we got there, they were ready for us,” he says, remembering an especially helpful doctor, Ruham Nasany, MD. “It was such a fast pace. Immediately, they did a CT scan. They gave him a clot-buster medication.”
Neurosurgeon Grahame Gould, MD, took care of Saini. He inserted a collapsible stent into an artery in Saini’s groin and threaded it to the blocked blood vessel in his brain. Then he captured the clot within the cagelike stent and removed it from the body. The intervention took 23 minutes.
Saini says the type of stroke his father had could have paralyzed him forever.
Instead, Saini’s father recovered for three nights in the hospital. He required no rehabilitation and no physical, occupational or speech therapy. The stroke left him with a slight shake in his hand and a mild difference in his gait.
“I’m just amazed,” he says of the difference he saw in his father after Gould completed the retrieval. “Everybody is amazed.”
This article appears in the fall 2017 issue of Upstate Health magazine.