Stroke Center is a Hit for Legendary Record Label Exec
For most of his life, David Leach had moved at 100 mph. Each day, the 55-year-old husband and father of two had risen at the crack of dawn to drive from his Watchung home to his Manhattan office, where he helped shape today’s music industry. David had spent more than 25 years as a senior vice president of promotion at Polygram and then Universal Music Group, working closely with artists like Jon Bon Jovi, Elton John, Shania Twain, Sting and LL Cool J.
That record pace came to a screeching halt when, one morning, David woke up at 5 a.m. and sat down at the kitchen table across from his wife Nina, who was preparing for her day as director of development at The Chatham Day School.
“He was just sitting there, smiling at me and not saying a word,” recalls Nina. “He didn’t look like he was quite awake, so he popped a few grapes in his mouth and went back to bed while I headed off to work and the kids went to school.”
What happened during the next few hours was a blurred memory for David, a surreal episode for Nina, and a life-altering experience for the Leach family and all who know them. David remembers falling several times as he tried to get out of bed. The left side of his body became numb and he had difficulty speaking before he lost consciousness.
Meanwhile, the Leach’s housekeeper arrived at 8:15 a.m. and phoned Nina to ask why she hadn’t yet seen David, who would normally be greeting her as he left for work. At Nina’s suggestion and while she remained on the phone, the housekeeper entered the bedroom to discover David collapsed on the floor. Nina phoned 911 from her office and sped home, as local police squads and an EMT unit descended upon the scene.
A stroke team led by Dr. Shalini Bansil, a board certified neurologist and medical director of The Stroke Center at Overlook, met the EMTs and the Leach’s in the Emergency Department. A CT scan confirmed David was having a stroke and Dr. Bansil discussed treatment options.
Based upon the onset of David’s symptoms, the stroke center team determined they had 45 minutes to utilize the Merci Retrieval System™ to remove the stroke-causing blood clot in his brain. The alternative was disability or possibly death.
Dr. David Wells-Roth, a neurosurgeon trained in interventional neuroradiology, successfully retrieved the clot by loading the corkscrew-type device into a microcatheter, which was inserted up to the brain through a femoral artery.
After a four-day recovery in Overlook’s Neurointensive Care Unit, a 10-day stay at Atlantic’s Rehabilitation Institute and several months of speech therapy, David resumed his life…at a safer 55-mph speed. He quit smoking, started an exercise program and handles stress more effectively.
“I have a new perspective on life,” says David. “When something goes wrong, I don’t get crazy. I roll with it now.”
David recently toured the Neurointerventional Suite where his life was saved and found it to be a humbling experience. “I was both excited and blown away by the capabilities that exist here,” David commented.
“The care David received at Overlook – from doctors, nurses, and technicians – was tremendous,” added Nina. “Dr. Bansil and Dr. Wells-Roth were very generous in explaining every detail of his treatment to me and our physician- friends who were monitoring David’s care. They adjusted visiting hours to accommodate our family, and gave me their cell phone numbers in case I had further questions.
“Considering wine is one of David’s passions, it’s truly fitting that a corkscrew-type device saved his life!”