A keen golfer who suffered a life-threatening stroke on the golf course made a miracle recovery within just 48 hours after pioneering new treatment to VACUUM the blood clot from his brain.
Stephen Williamson, 60, collapsed as he prepared to take a putt on the second hole at Ramsdale Park Golf Club in Calverton, Notts., during a competition seven weeks ago.
His friends covered him with their coats as he lay stricken on the course as paramedics rushed to the scene on March 11.
The grandfather-of-two was taken to Nottingham’s City Hospital where doctors found he had a large two-inch clot that was starving his brain of oxygen.
After an emergency thrombectomy – a clot-busting treatment designed to clear the deadly blockage – didn’t work Stephen was taken to nearby Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC).
There doctors were trialling a new revolutionary treatment called intra-arterial thrombectomy, which effectively vacuums clots from the brain.
The new procedure involved pushing a tube into one of Stephen’s arteries in his leg, which fed through his blood until it reached the neck and SUCKED the clot out.
Incredibly, just hours after suffering his massive stroke Stephen was giving the doctors the thumbs up from his hospital bed.
Astonished experts believe if he hadn’t have undergone the revolutionary treatment he would have been left wheelchair-bound and severely disabled for the rest of his life.
Instead ,Stephen was back out on the golf course just weeks later after making an “spectacular recovery”, which has stunned medics.
Dad-of-four Stephen, from Chesterfield, Derbys., said he has suffered no long term effects and is still playing off a handicap of six.
He said: “I’m incredibly grateful.
“My son was in the Army and died two years ago. I thought I was going to join him, but now is not my time. For all intents and purposes, I am the same as I was before.
“It’s a miracle really.
“I was walking up to the green with my trolley and felt a little bit light-headed. I didn’t think it was anything unusual, just a bit of tiredness.
“But then I putted and I felt a bit strange.
“I was going to mark my ball and the next thing I knew I was on the floor – it felt like someone had kicked my legs from underneath me.
“I have a friend who had a stroke seven years ago and she’s not got her speech back and she can’t move her arms and legs.
“For all intents and purposes I am the same as I was before.
“I played virtually the same standard as I was before.
“It feels very good and to be honest with you the social side of golf is as important as anything.
“I’m only playing a couple of times a week now but I’m going away on a golfing holiday to Devon and I wouldn’t have thought that possible.
“They’ve given me my life.
“If I hadn’t had the procedure I would have been in hospital for six months trying to get my functions back and I would have had to have carers and be in a wheelchair.”
Neurology consultant Norman McConachie, who helped to perform the surgery at Nottingham’s QMC, said he had never seen such a remarkable recovery from a stroke in his entire career.
He said: “His was a very dramatic recovery.
“When he got on to the operating table he was weak and couldn’t move the left-hand side of his body.
“But we pulled the clot out and almost instantly he gave us the thumbs up with his previously paralysed hand.
“It was quite touching and very gratifying.
“He’s very fortunate to have been in the Nottingham area when he collapsed. We’re the only people who do this in the East Midlands.
“By the next day he was well enough to go home – I’ve never seen such a fantastic outcome. It’s remarkable.
“If he hadn’t had the treatment he would have been left in a wheelchair. It’s made a huge difference.”
Consultant neurologist Adrian Wills added: “It’s a cutting-edge device and a very skilled procedure that not many people can do.
“Lots of smaller hospitals wouldn’t have someone available to give that treatment.
“If the patient had gone to Derby, Burton-on-Trent or King’s Mill, the other three hospitals in his area, he wouldn’t have got that treatment.”