Area Resident Gets Relief from Hip Pain from Innovative Procedure

Posted on : 05-08-2015 | By : bhernandez | In : Aches & Pains, Bone Health, Events, News, Success Stories


Antkiowak-webAfter three years of enduring shooting pain from his hip down the outside of his leg to his ankle, Jim Langs reached his limit of trying to relieve his pain with numerous medications. “As my medication wore off, the pain became so bad that I would drag my leg as if it were “dead” in order to cope with the pain,” said the Manhattan resident. “I was so fortunate to meet Dr. Antkowiak, who got rid of my pain by performing an innovative and minimally invasive anterior hip replacement.” Dr. Tom Antkowiak performed the cutting-edge anterior hip replacement procedure on Jim’s hip at Silver Cross Hospital enabling him to have a quicker and less painful recovery.

The anterior approach is an alternative to traditional hip replacement surgery. During anterior hip replacement surgery, the hip joint is accessed through a smaller incision by entering through the front of the body and working between the hip. The surgeon works between the tissues without detaching them or cutting them. This leads to less tissue trauma, less pain and often a faster recovery.

The anterior surgical approach is becoming more popular as it is less invasive, hospital stays are shorter, and patients are able to return to their work or chosen activity faster with less pain.

“As a result of this less invasive technique, post-surgical mobility is greatly improved because the muscle tissues are spared during the surgical procedure,” said Dr. Tom Antkowiak, orthopedic surgeon on staff at Silver Cross Hospital. “Jim for example was slowly walking the day of his surgery and climbing stairs a few days later.  I am grateful to Silver Cross for providing the state-of-the-art equipment that is necessary for me to offer this innovative procedure to Jim and all my patients.

Advice to Others

“My advice to anyone with hip pain is simple – don’t waste another minute suffering – get help,” said Langs. “Not only am I thankful to have such an accomplished, down-to-earth, surgeon as Dr. Antkowiak perform my surgery, I am so happy to have received such an advanced procedure at Silver Cross, which is close to my home.  In addition, the nurses and therapists at Silver Cross gave me endless encouragement. They showed me alternative ways to move, while also cautioning me not to overdo things or push too hard until I was more fully healed.”

Symptoms of Hip Pain

Depending on the source that’s causing hip pain, you might feel discomfort in the following areas: groin, buttocks, thigh, outside of the hip joint, or the back.

Get medical attention right away if:

  • The hip pain came on suddenly.
  • A fall or other injury triggered the hip pain.
  • Your hip looks deformed or is bleeding.
  • You experienced a painful popping in the hip.
  • The pain is intense.
  • You can’t put any weight on your hip.

Free Lecture

Join Dr. Tom Antkowiak and Dr. Rajeev Puri, orthopedic surgeons, to learn the latest treatment plans for hip pain and degenerative hip conditions including hip arthroscopy and total anterior hip replacement on Thursday, May 21.  This free program will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Silver Cross Hospital Conference Center, 1890 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox.  Register to attend online or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).


I Matter Discounts: An English Garden

Posted on : 04-27-2015 | By : tsimons | In : Business Sponsors, Discounts, Heart Health, I Matter Benefits, Mammography

corsageApril Showers bring May flowers and a trip to An English Garden where Silver Cross I Matter members save 5-10% off every purchase, every day. Located in downtown Mokena at 11210 Front Street, they specialize in weddings, parties and dances. In fact, they have several specials for Prom season:

  • Boutonnieres – Starting at $10.50
  • Corsages – starting at $27.50
  • Hand-tied Clutch bouquet – starting at $50
  • Rose Clutch Bouquet – starting at $55

All dance flowers include a trip to the customizing station to ad pearls, beads, baubles, glitter and more at no extra charge.

In addition to fresh flowers, at An English Garden, you can also find other gifts and gardening treasures such as:

  • Balloons
  • Candy & Cookie Bouquets
  • Garden Cement Statutes & Plaques
  • Planters
  • Stuffed Animals
  • Sympathy Keepsake Tapestries & Wind Chimed
  • Wooden Signs

For more information, call (708) 389-2155 or (708) 995-5523 or send an email to An English Garden is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to Noon.

Has you I Matter card expired?

IMatter Discount CardThat means it is time for your annual mammogram or heart screening. Request an appointment online or call (815) 300-7076. No doctor’s order needed for either test.

If you are not an I Matter member, join today and start reaping the benefits tomorrow. It matters to us (and the one you love) that you take care of yourself!


5 Reasons to get your annual Mammogram

Posted on : 04-27-2015 | By : tsimons | In : breast cancer, Cancer, Discounts, Health Tips, Mammography, screening

77279363A mammogram is an important step in taking care of yourself. The American Cancer Society recommends women age 40 and over get a mammogram every year, along with a breast exam by a doctor or nurse. And all women, no matter their age, need to let their doctor know about any changes to their breasts.  Whether you’re a mammogram newbie or a veteran, the Silver Cross for Women’s Health in New Lenox,IL is making it even easier to get this important screening.

  1. No Order? No Problem! For your convenience, you no longer need an order from your primary care physician for your annual screening mammogram at Silver Cross.  However, if you have noticed a change in your breasts or have a history of lumps or cancer, you will need to contact your physician before scheduling your mammogram. Your doctor may request specific breast images.
  2. Discounts at Local Businesses. It matters to Silver Cross that you take care of yourself, therefore they reward women who get their annual mammogram with valuable discounts at over 100 local businesses through their free I Matter™ program. Not a member? Sign-up today for free.
  3. Just $100. That’s right. For women with high deductibles/co-pays or no insurance, Silver Cross offers this special discounted price for those who call during the month of May to schedule a screening mammogram appointment.  Cash, check or credit card will be accepted at the time of your screening. Insurance will not be billed.
  4. 3D Mammography.  At the Silver Cross Center for Women’s health, patients can have a three-dimensional image of the breast for earlier detection of small breast cancers that may be hidden during digital mammography.  This is especially helpful for individuals with dense breasts as it provides a greater accuracy in pinpointing size, shape and location of any abnormalities.
  5. Personal Attention.  From the moment you arrive (and valet park) at Silver Cross, you are treated with the utmost concern.  Silver Cross knows your time is valuable so their highly skilled staff will have you in and out quickly—usually within 30 minutes or less.  To put your mind at ease, results are just a phone call away through a special 24-hour hotline. And if you need additional testing, Silver Cross’ dedicated nurse navigator can help you coordinate the next steps in your care.  Because of this attention to detail, the Center for Women’s Health ranks in the Top 1% in the U.S. for patient satisfaction according to Press Ganey.

Don’t wait any longer. Schedule an appointment for your annual mammogram at the Silver Cross Center for Women’s Health by calling (815) 300-7076. Or you can request an appointment online.

Pet Therapy Dog helps 8 year old Bella walk again

Posted on : 04-22-2015 | By : tsimons | In : News, Rehabilitation, Success Stories
Physical therapist from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross Hospital helped leg amputee patient and Mokena resident Bella Rodrigues regain her mobility through therapy.

Physical therapist from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross Hospital helped leg amputee patient and Mokena resident Bella Rodrigues regain her mobility through therapy.

When Mokena residents Kurt and Gia Rodrigues learned that their 8-year-old daughter, Bella, went into cardiac arrest they were speechless because days prior, she was her normal active self. Earlier that week, Bella was having cold symptoms, which worsened into a severe H1N1 flu virus causing her heart and other organs to fail. During the next 26 days, oxygen was delivered to her blood through the use of the life-saving Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machine. As the ECMO device allowed her to rest while her affected organs healed, she was listed as a Status 1 for a heart transplant. Fortunately, with the use of a stress dose steroid, her heart improved moving her to a Status 7 for a heart transplant. However the aggressive infection didn’t allow her right leg to regain circulation forcing doctors to remove the limb from below the right knee to the foot. As she faced the challenge of learning to walk again with a prosthetic leg, her progress improved as her spirits were lifted when she began receiving physical therapy using a pet therapy dog at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross Hospital.

“The days I meet with my pet therapy dog, Max, are fun because we play as he helps me to walk,” said Bella Rodrigues, who has two dogs of her own at home.

“When I first started treating Bella, she was experiencing a lot of pain,” said Patty McQuinn, Pediatric Physical Therapist from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross Hospital. “Since incorporating Max in our therapy sessions, Bella’s focus has moved from her pain to interacting with Max. By throwing a ball to Max and taking him for walks, Bella began to make great gains with her mobility. She has even begun to take steps without her walker. It has been so rewarding to see how working with Max has improved Bella’s mood, cooperation and motivation.”

“We continue to be encouraged by Bella’s progress and by how Patty takes the extra time to develop different approaches to her therapy, like incorporating the pet therapy dog, Max, to ensure she gets the most out of her sessions,” stated Kurt Rodrigues, Bella’s father.

Being a therapy dog has also been a rewarding experience for Max, who is an 11-year-old golden retriever and certified pet therapy dog. “Even though Max is an older dog, he still gets excited and wiggles his tail as he interacts with patients,” said Lori Greene, owner of Max. “And it has been so wonderful to see Bella’s face light up when she works with Max. They really have a special bond.”

Reduced Stress with High Quality Care Close to Home

“When we were researching where to take Bella for physical therapy, we learned that the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) was ranked the “#1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America” by U.S. News & World Report for over 20 years. We were ecstatic to find a RIC location with pediatric therapy so close to our home,” said Gia Rodrigues, Bella’s mother. “It has been extremely less stressful for Bella to receive such outstanding care nearby. Instead of spending a couple hours in the car, now she can actually go back to school after her therapy and not be as tired. Plus Bella has excelled in the one-on-one, calming environment that Patty has created during their sessions.”

“By coming to Silver Cross, patients have access to specialized care plans similar to those that are offered at RIC’s downtown Chicago location,” said Valerie Paluszak, Manager of Outpatient Rehabilitation for The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross Hospital. “We are fortunate to have such highly trained and experienced physical, occupational and speech therapists working at Silver Cross, who truly make patients’ treatment successful enabling them to thrive, so they can return to their daily routines.”

For more information about pediatric therapy with RIC at Silver Cross, call (815) 300-7110.


Pamper Your Feet at our FREE Foot Fair

Posted on : 04-10-2015 | By : tsimons | In : Aches & Pains, Bone Health, Events, Rehabilitation, screening

Foot Fair

In preparation for sandal season, Silver Cross Hospital is hosting a free Foot Fair on Friday, May 1.  The event will take place from 3 to 7 p.m. in the Silver Cross Hospital Conference Center in Pavilion A at 1890 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox. Complimentary valet parking is available at the Pavilion Entrance.  The toe-tingling experience will include foot screenings, presentations, exhibits, massages, raffle prizes and refreshments. For more information, visit or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).

Complimentary 10-minute consultations with podiatrists on staff at Silver Cross Hospital or a physical therapist with The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago will be offered from 3 to 7 p.m. Advanced registration is required for the screenings only by scheduling an appointment at online or 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).

In addition, area podiatrists will discuss a variety of foot-related topics throughout the event. The lectures are free and registration is not required to attend the following presentations:

Attendees will also have an opportunity to receive a gait analysis and foot massage; purchase foot scrubs, lotions and high quality shoes; and peruse the many exhibitors including: Miroballi Shoes, New Balance Athletic Footwear, The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross, Silver Cross Wound Healing & Treatment and Diabetes Centers. Participants can also enter into a raffle for unique gifts and enjoy “Pedi” Fours & punch.

“In most cases, foot conditions do not require surgery or invasive procedures to stop pain and reverse damage,” says Dr. Paul Kirchner, DPM, podiatrist with Lincolnway Medical Associates. “Conservative treatments including medications or special splints are usually all that is required. However, every person’s body responds to treatment differently that is why it is important to have your feet examined by a health care provider like those that will be at the Silver Cross Foot Fair.”

New eICU provides Second Set of Eyes for extra care

Posted on : 04-01-2015 | By : tsimons | In : News, safety, Stroke Care
Silver Cross staff tested the new eICU technology March 25 which will provide a second set of eyes to help keep critical care patients safe. (l-r) Ann Carpenter, ICU Manager; Saima Ayub, Pharmacist; Dr. Salah Lababidy, critical care pulmonologist; Megan Overcash; ICU nurse; Jane Harris, ICU nurse; Mary Shanahan, Nursing Administrative Director; and Mike Gruber; Information Technology Senior Director; and (TV monitor) Sanya Nikolich, eICU intensivist

Silver Cross staff tested the new eICU technology March 25 which will provide a second set of eyes to help keep critical care patients safe. (l-r) Ann Carpenter, ICU Manager; Saima Ayub, Pharmacist; Dr. Salah Lababidy, critical care pulmonologist; Megan Overcash; ICU nurse; Jane Harris, ICU nurse; Mary Shanahan, Nursing Administrative Director; and Mike Gruber; Information Technology Senior Director; and (TV monitor) Sanya Nikolich, eICU intensivist

Silver Cross Hospital has added another layer of specialized care in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with the launch of an electronic monitoring system, or eICU to help keep patients safe.

The cutting-edge technology features around-the-clock, real-time audio and video monitoring of Silver Cross Hospital’s ICU patients in all 28 private rooms from one central command center, 24 hours/day, 7 days/week, 365 days per year.  The new system, allows board-certified critical care specialists and trained ICU nurses the ability to consult with Silver Cross Hospital’s ICU staff to make real-time clinical decisions.

“The eICU does not replace a patient’s physician or nurse,” said Dr. Amar Garapati, critical care intensivist and Medical Director of the ICU at Silver Cross Hospital. “Instead, it provides and extra layer of support and expertise when we can’t be in the room.”

A camera sits on the ceiling opposite the patient’s bed. When turned on—either by the bedside nurse or triggered by an alarm, the physician or nurse in the remote command center can closely assess the patient.

“They can even zoom in to look directly into the patient’s pupils,” said Dr. Garapati.

The eICU team has real-time access to vital signs, blood tests, X-rays, medications and other information from the patient’s bedside using computers and encrypted, high-speed data lines.  They have the ability to quickly notice changes in a patient’s condition and work with the Silver Cross medical team to determine the appropriate course of action.

“The new eICU technology will tremendously enhance the already high quality of care provided Silver Cross, while also helping to save lives,” said Paul Pawlak, President/CEO at Silver Cross Hospital. “We expect this new program will significantly reduce mortality, complications, length of stay, and overall costs of care.”

I Matter: Save on Spring Styles

Posted on : 03-30-2015 | By : tsimons | In : Business Sponsors, I Matter Benefits
Briosa Boutique in Frankfort brings fresh colors

Briosa Boutique in Frankfort brings fresh colors

Spring has finally sprung. Can you say the same about your wardrobe? Now is the time to freshen-up your look and save a few bucks in the process when you use your Silver Cross I Matter™ card.

What is that you ask? Well, women who sign-up for Silver Cross Hospital’ exclusive free I Matter program receive this special card when they come in for their annual mammogram or heart test. Your I Matter card can be used at over 100 local businesses for valuable discounts every time you shop. Pretty cool, right?

Back to the matter at hand – your closet! Well, the good news is that you will save at least 5% off every purchase you make at the following boutiques and online experiences:


All About Me 11015 S. Kedzie Chicago, IL (815) 699-5656

Briosa Boutique 22 S. White St. Frankfort, IL (815) 464-3008

Claire A Bella Boutique 115 Kansas St. Frankfort, IL (815) 464-9690

Essential Bodywear Julie Kerns, Consultant Lemont, IL

Fringe Boutique 27 Ash St. Frankfort, IL 60423 (815) 469-0607

Generation Bliss 14184 McCarthy Rd. Lemont, IL (630) 243-0545

My Sister’s and Me 1 N. White St. Frankfort, IL 60423 (815) 464-8373

fringe 2

So, what are you waiting for? What? Your I Matter card has expired? No problem. Just call (815) 300-7076 to schedule your appointment. You can also request an appointment online. And, you don’t need to worry about getting an order from your doctor if you have never had a problem or history of breast cancer. We know how busy you are and wanted to make it as easy as possible to get screened… and start shopping! Why? Because you Matter!





Specialist Spotlight: General Robotic Surgery

Posted on : 03-30-2015 | By : tsimons | In : Cancer, colon cancer, Specialist Spotlight
R.A. Gamagami, M.D. General Surgeon specializing in Robotic Surgery Techniques

R.A. Gamagami, M.D.
General Surgeon specializing in Robotic Surgery Techniques at Silver Cross Hospital

Finding the right surgeon can be a difficult task. If you or a loved one suffers from hernias, heartburn, gallbladder problems or recently diagnosed colorectal, stomach or esophageal cancer, you want a surgeon who is at the forefront of medicine’s most current surgical advances. At Silver Cross Hospital, R. A. Gamagami, M.D., a highly skilled surgeon with well over 20 years of experience in gastrointestinal and colorectal surgery, has been training other surgeons locally and nationally on the latest techniques in robotic surgery.

Robotic surgery is a minimally invasive, laparoscopic technique that allows for surgery with smaller incisions, less pain, quicker recovery and less surgical complications than standard open procedures. The robot allows the surgeon to perform these procedures at 10 times the normal magnification with a three-dimensional view and the dexterity to perform very fine movements not possible with standard laparoscopy. Less than ten percent of surgeons in the U.S. have been trained in this technology.

Dr. Gamagami has distinguished himself as one of the country’s most trusted and respected surgeons. Likewise, his patients have given him high marks for his bedside manner. He consistently ranks in the top 1% of physicians in the U.S. for patient satisfaction.

“Not every patient with abdominal, gastrointestinal or colorectal disease needs surgery,” said Dr. Gamagami. “So I take as much time as needed to talk with my patients, and often their family members, about all the options so that together we can determine the best course of surgical or non-surgical treatment.”

“At Silver Cross Hospital, we have performed twice as many robotic minimally invasive colon and rectal resections than any other local community hospital,” said Dr. Gamagami.  “About 85% of my patients benefit from this new robotic technology as compared to less than 20% in the Chicago metropolitan area.”

Since 2013, Dr. Gamagami has performed the most robotic colorectal and hernia surgeries in Illinois.

Due to his extensive training and expertise in robotic surgery, Dr. Gamagami was appointed as an Epicenter Surgeon for da Vinci Surgical last year. Physicians from North and South America travel to Silver Cross Hospital—one of 30 Epicenter hospitals in the entire U.S., every week to learn from Dr. Gamagami, who uses robotic technology for general, colon and rectal surgery. Epicenter surgeons, like Dr. Gamagami, act as mentors for newly trained da Vinci robotic surgeons to promote ongoing learning.

In addition, Dr. Gamagami is the only the only surgeon in Will, Grundy and Kankakee Counties to be given the designation of a Total Mesorectal Excision (TME) surgeon. TME is a technique considered to be the gold standard for removing cancers of the rectum. This technique results in lower cancer recurrence and higher survival rates.

Over the past 20 years, Dr. Gamagami has become a leader in his field, pioneering many advanced surgical procedures that produce the best outcomes. He was the first to do a robotic colorectal resection as well as robotic esophageal, gastric, hernia and heartburn surgery.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Gamagami, call (815) 717-8730. His office is located with Progressive Surgical Associates in Pavilion A on the Silver Cross Campus.


Meet Dr. Gamagami

He will be hosting a free program “You’re Sure it’s not Colon Cancer?” on Tuesday, April 28, from 6:30-7:30 pm in the Silver Cross Hospital Conference Center. Register to attend online or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).

What’s Happening at Silver Cross? New Therapies, Technology and Services

Posted on : 03-30-2015 | By : tsimons | In : News, Replacement Hospital

SilverCross Hospital croppedWe  just celebrated our third anniversary in our state-of-the-art 296-bed hospital at I-355 and Route 6 in New Lenox.  Our staff remains dedicated to treating patients the way they should be treated with new services, enhanced expertise and safe, compassionate care.  This past year Silver Cross earned re-accreditation from the Joint Commission and the Commission on Cancer, and nursing care ranked in the Top 10% in the nation for patient satisfaction.

Since 2012, the medical staff has grown to over 700 physicians—300 with offices conveniently located on the hospital’s campus.  And we have increased our workforce by 25% to over 2,300 employees, many with special training and certification.

Specialty Care Close to Home

Through partnerships with University of Chicago Medicine, The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), Lurie Children’s Hospital, and Cadence Health—now part of Northwestern Medicine, specialists in cancer, rehabilitation, pediatrics, and stroke continue to bring new treatments and therapies to Will County and the surrounding communities.

“We have seen a significant increase in cancer patients requiring radiation therapy prompting the addition of a second linear accelerator and a permanent PET/CT Scanner earlier this year,” said Paul Pawlak, President/CEO of Silver Cross Hospital.

At the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross, many patients are being treated for breast or lung cancer.  This led to the formation of Multidisciplinary Conferences for both diseases where cancer specialists gather weekly to review cases and provide patients and their physicians with a recommended plan so they can begin treatment immediately.  To diagnose lung cancer at the earliest stages when treatment is the most effective, Silver Cross was the first in the area to acquire navigational bronchoscopy technology.  At the Silver Cross Center for Women’s Health, patients can take advantage of the latest in breast tomosynthesis (3D mammography). This three-dimensional equipment helps physicians more accurately pinpoint breast tumors providing earlier detection of small breast cancers that may be hidden during digital mammography.

“It is so important that we diagnose and treat cancer as soon as possible, therefore we no longer require a physician’s order for a screening mammography,” said Pawlak.  “Patients can just call (815) 300-7076 to schedule an appointment.”

Through a partnership with RIC, the #1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America, more Silver Cross patients than ever before are advancing their ability and returning home sooner. “Seventy-nine percent of patients who recover on our CARF-accredited rehabilitation unit are discharged home—not to a skilled nursing, assisted living or extended care facility,” said Pawlak.  “That is much higher than the regional average of 71% or even the U.S. average of 74%.”

RIC also oversees Silver Cross’ outpatient rehabilitation programs including facilities at the hospital, West Joliet, Homer Glen and on Route 30 in New Lenox.

Babies, Babies & More Babies

Also since opening the new hospital, we have experienced a baby boom delivering over 6,500 newborns.   “Nearly half of all babies in Will County are now born at Silver Cross Hospital,” Pawlak says.

To ensure that even the tiniest patients have access to the very best care, last year, our hospital received designation from Illinois Department of Public Health to have a Level 2 Nursery with extended capabilities.  This means that few babies ever need to be transferred to specialized neonatal care centers.  Parents can feel confident knowing that Silver Cross has neonatologists from Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago as well as OB/GYNs and anesthesiologists available in the hospital 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Extra Care for Stroke and Critical Patients

Patients suffering stroke can also get all the care they need at right here at Silver Cross.   Last year alone, a comprehensive team of neurosurgeons and neuro-interventional radiologists halted and reversed stroke by performing over 350 lifesaving interventions.

“We want to do everything in our power to make sure all our critically ill patients are receiving the very best care,” said Pawlak.  “So, we are adding an extra level of support and expertise by upgrading our ICU with cutting-edge technology so that patients can be monitored 24/7 by highly trained intensivists in real-time.  These physicians will work in tandem with the ICU staff to monitor patients round the clock.  We are on-track to have the new eICU operational by the end of March.”

To learn more about other programs and services available at Silver Cross Hospital, follow us Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and You Tube.  For a referral to a physician on the Silver Cross Medical Staff, click here.

Tinley Park Mom Suffers Stroke, Recovers after Life-saving Treatment at Silver Cross Hospital

Jacob, Juliana, Jennifer and Henry Arciszewski.  Jacob and Juliana helped save Jennifer’s life after she suffered a stroke and seizure at her Tinley Park home in January.

Jacob, Juliana, Jennifer and Henry Arciszewski. Jacob and Juliana helped save Jennifer’s life after she suffered a stroke and seizure at her Tinley Park home in January.

Jennifer Arciszewski was just about to step into the shower when she fell to the floor in her Tinley Park home on Jan. 9, 2015.  She couldn’t get up or call out for help.  Fortunately, the commotion woke up Arciszewski’s 11-year old daughter Juliana who came to her rescue.  She knew something was wrong with her mom and got her older brother Jacob from his room who called 911.

“I knew what I wanted to say, but my words weren’t making sense. And I couldn’t move my right arm and leg,” Arciszewski remembers.  “Thankfully my kids were calm and knew to get help.”

After an initial assessment, the paramedics took Arciszewski to Silver Cross because of the hospital’s comprehensive stroke program.  Silver Cross Hospital is designated as a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission with a staff of experienced specialists offering the full continuum of care –from diagnosis to treatment to rehabilitation, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Upon arrival she was greeted by the Code Stroke Team.  A CT Scan in the Emergency Department (ED) showed Arciszewski suffered an acute stroke.  She also had two seizures – one at home and one in the ED. Since she was not a candidate for clot-busting drugs, Dr. Richard Burgess, neurointerventional radiologist and stroke neurologist with the Silver Cross Neuroscience Institute, immediately took her to the endovascular lab where he performed an angiogram to see exactly which vessels were involved. What he found was a large blood clot the size of a pencil eraser.  Using minimally invasive techniques, Dr. Burgess was able to open the larger of the two main arteries that supplies blood flow to the brain.

“Because of the size and density of the clot, we could not totally remove it without causing permanent damage to her speech and cognitive skills,” said Dr. Burgess.  “We were able to take her from a globally aphasic state (no usable speech) to having occasional expressive word difficulties but not distinctly noticeable.  With blood thinners and other medications, over time the clot will dissolve on its own.”

Recovering with RIC at Silver Cross

Arciszewski spent 16 days in Silver Cross Hospital – six days in the Intensive Care Unit followed by another five day stay on the 6-1 medical-surgical unit.  The last five days were spent in the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago’s (RIC) rehabilitation unit at Silver Cross where she participated in occupational, physical and speech therapy three times a day to help her regain her abilities.

“Dr. Burgess and his assistant Kathy came to see me every day while I was at Silver Cross,” said Arciszewski. He always took time to answer any questions I had; even drawing diagrams to explain exactly what I happened to me.”

“I call her my miracle child,” said Arciszewski’s mom, Jacqueline Szymanski. “Everyone at Silver Cross was wonderful to all of us.  I felt comfortable because of the good care my daughter received.  I was totally amazed at her progress in the two weeks she was there.”

“I am relieved that I can walk and talk, although it has been difficult,” Arciszewski adds.

Eva Ricci, speech/language pathologist with The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross Hospital, spent 8 weeks working with Jennifer Arciszewski to improve her speech after suffering a stroke.

Eva Ricci, speech/language pathologist with The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross Hospital, spent 8 weeks working with Jennifer Arciszewski to improve her speech after suffering a stroke.

Arciszewski is eager to get back to work at Blue Cross Blue Shield. She just finished eight weeks of outpatient therapy with RIC at Silver Cross.

“Jennifer is a hard worker and has really made significant improvement, said Eva Ricci, speech/language pathologist with RIC at Silver Cross Hospital. “When I first saw her in the ICU, she had difficulty expressing her thoughts verbally.  Today, Jennifer is speaking fluently.”

“We’ve had a lot of tragedy in our family the past few years and I am so fortunate that Dr. Burgess and the staff at Silver Cross saved my life,” said Arciszewski.  “I also hug my kids and thank them every day for their act of heroism. I will be forever grateful to everyone who took care of me in the hospital, my family and friends.”

Save a Life!

To learn more about the warning signs of stroke and treatment available at the Silver Cross Neuroscience Institute, request a free Stroke Awareness Kit at online or 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).

For more information about Modern Diagnosis and Treatment of Stroke, join Dr. Richard Burgess, neurointerventional radiologist and stroke neurologist with the Silver Cross Neuroscience Institute, Monday, May 18, from 6:30  to 7:30 p.m. This free program will be held in the Silver Cross Hospital Conference Center, 1890 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox. Register to attend at online or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).