Josephine’s Story

Josephine Hempel, Accountant, Stuart Resident.

I was on the phone at work and out of the blue, had a horrible headache. The headache got so bad that I couldn’t even talk. It felt like I had vice grips clamped down on my head. Come to find out, I had a large aneurysm rupture and then a subarachnoid hemorrhage in my brain. I was out of it, and was rushed to a local hospital in Stuart. My husband Kevin met me at the hospital where they were having a hard time diagnosing me. He told them that my blood pressure had always been low and I never had headaches. 

I was medevac’d via helicopter to St. Mary’s Medical Center, a Comprehensive Stroke Center in West Palm Beach, where interventional neurologist Dr. Ali Malek was awaiting my arrival. Dr. Malek is the medical director of neurointervention and the stroke program at the hospital. As an interventional neurologist, he had the skill to be able to enter my brain through a minimally invasive procedure involving a catheter in my leg. Dr. Malek is a medical expert in neurocritical care, vascular neurology and endovascular neurosurgery.

He put a coil into the hemorrhage that stopped the blood from escaping from the ruptured aneurysm. Dr. Malek noticed that I am also missing an artery in my brain. He was fantastic! Every time I hear his name, I yell woohoo!

I was in the hospital for six weeks and even did some of my rehab at St. Mary’s.

Throughout his frequent rounds, my family and I thought Dr. Malek was super knowledgeable. I felt that with Dr. Malek, I was getting world class service. Dr. Malek is very dedicated, super nice and normal for being such a gifted man. He is very good at what he does. I attended my follow-up appointments at the Palm Beach Neuroscience Institute (PBNI) in West Palm Beach, where Dr. Malek is on-staff. I also had appointments with neurosurgeon and anti-aging medicine specialist, Dr. Brett Osborn, and Dr. Paul Acevedo, a neurologist and director of the Memory Disorder Center at the hospital. Both Dr. Osborn and Dr. Acevedo are also on-staff at PBNI and both are also super knowledgeable. They talk to patients in a regular way that makes the patient feel very comfortable.

The aneurysm in my brain ruptured on January 31, 2013. Today, I’m feeling pretty good, but I’m still recovering. I know I still have room to grow, but it’s gradually coming along. My physical problems included learning how to walk, how to write again and activities with my weak left side. I am happy to say, I was able to return to work 11 weeks after the aneurysm ruptured in my brain. It was at a part-time basis, 32-hours a week, but it really made me happy to be back at work. Today, I can’t express how thankful I am. I’m very grateful Dr. Malek gave me a second chance at life and more time with my beautiful family. For whatever reason,