Stroke victim thanks St. Francis doctors who saved him

Posted: Updated:

A West Islip man was reunited Tuesday with the doctors and nurses who saved his life after he nearly died from a massive stroke.

Doctors at St. Francis Hospital are calling him a walking miracle. They treated Phillip Wolhar on March 16 after he collapsed at the Chevrolet dealership in Roslyn where he works. By the time paramedics got him to St. Francis Hospital, Wolhar was in a coma and near death.

"I was told there was a 95 to 98 percent mortality rate that goes along with stroke," says Wolhar.

Dr. Sang Lee was the emergency room physician who first examined Wolhar. She says Wolhar had a clot in the basilar artery in the back of his neck. Dr. David Parrella immediately performed a state-of-the-art procedure called a thrombectomy.

"We made a small incision in his leg and we thread a catheter up into his neck and into the artery in the back of the brain and then we were able to suction the clot and pull it out," says Dr. Parrella.

Dr. Parrella says Wolhar responded to the procedure right away.

"We began to see him move and then we lightened up the sedation a little bit," he says.

"It's amazing…to see the end result, the outcome is pretty special to me," says Dr. Lee.

Wolhar says he doesn't remember anything about the day he nearly died, but he won't ever forget the team of doctors and nurses who gave him a second chance at life.

"I'm truly grateful. You give me more time to spend with my wife, you give me more time to spend with my daughter and I can't thank you enough for that," says Wolhar.

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