Lakeland Health Care

Patient Stories

Celebrating Survivors

Age Diagnosed
Emergency Surgery for Subdural Hematoma
Feature Story

Lew Burchard, 70, has been to Mayo Clinic. It’s generally regarded as one of the best health systems in the nation. His wife, Lynnette, was treated there in 2004, and they left impressed.

When Lew was rushed to the Emergency Department at Lakeland Medical Center, St. Joseph in July 2011, he wasn’t sure what to expect. He never imagined that the care could compare to the renowned Mayo Clinic. So much for expectations.

Lew had just finished 27 holes of golf and noticed he had a headache. He decided to head home and rest, but the symptoms persisted.

“I rarely get headaches,” said Lew, a resident of Stevensville. “After 30 minutes, the pain grew so intense that I became physically ill. Lynnette told me that we were going to the emergency room.”

By the time they arrived, Lew could barely stand. He stumbled from the car, dizzy with pain. That’s when a Lakeland associate rushed to his aid with a wheel chair and hurried him inside. The eventual diagnosis came from Lew’s family physician, Matthew Campbell, MD.

Lew needed emergency surgery for a subdural hematoma. This occurs when blood collects outside of the brain following a hemorrhage. Dennis Szymanski, MD, performed the surgery, removing a four-by-six inch section of Lew’s skull to stop the bleeding. Four devices were placed in the area that was removed to hold his skull in place.

“The effects of a subdural hematoma are similar to those of a stroke,” Lew said. “My right side was extremely weak, and I was wheelchair bound after surgery.”

To regain the ability to walk and speak, Lew spent the next two weeks working with Lakeland Rehabilitation Services.

“Dr. Szymanski did a wonderful job coordinating my care with Dr. Campbell and made sure that Lynnette was aware of everything that was taking place,” Lew said. “The staff was marvelous. They worked together as a Team and were extremely caring. I experienced care at Lakeland every bit as good as the care my wife received at Mayo Clinic.”

Today, Lew is feeling great. He’s playing golf again and enjoying time with his family.

“I will forever be indebted to the excellent care that I received at Lakeland,” Lew said. “What a truly outstanding group of people!”

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