John Lawrence

John LawrenceThe pain in John Lawrence’s head was unbearable — “like a shot to the head” he says — and it wouldn’t go away. He couldn’t stand up, couldn’t sit down. “He looked . . . gray,” recalls his wife, Barbara. But initial CAT scans showed nothing — only adding frustration to John’s agony.

Eventually, doctors diagnosed the problem: a carotid artery dissection — a form of stroke — deep inside John’s skull. The doctors John was seeing pronounced it “inoperable.” They told John he was “a walking time bomb,” and that, frankly, they were surprised he was even still alive.

Fortunately for John, he was soon in the office of Diane Book, MD, Medical College of Wisconsin neurologist and medical director of the Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin Stroke Program. John’s prospects suddenly improved dramatically. Dr. Book informed John about an operation they could perform. It was a procedure performed at that time by only a handful of hospitals in the region. Luckily for John Lawrence, Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin was one of them.

The surgery lasted seven and a half hours. “There was so much care, and compassion and follow-up,” says Barbara of John’s operation and recovery. Adds John: “I felt like I was the only person in the hospital.”  That’s because at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, nationally trained, highly skilled physicians, working in an academic medical center, are able to focus all their attention and care on the individual patient.

The procedure was a complete success. John and his wife have their lives back — fishing, dining out, traveling frequently to Europe — doing all the things they’ve always loved.

“If it wasn’t for Froedtert, I might not be here,” says John today, adding wryly, “I guess I believe in angels.”