Northwest Community Hospital recognized for stroke program

Employees and former stroke patients at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights gathered Tuesday to celebrate the facility's recent recognitions for its neurological care services, including its new certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center.

But the hospital's specialization in stroke care could be said to go back 10 to 20 years, depending on how one looks at it, officials said.

Arlington Heights resident Mike Wett, a retired public works employee of the village, is among the former patients most grateful for that fact.

Wett collapsed while walking his dog before work in September 2008. At the time, he believed the dizziness he had been experiencing beforehand was merely the result of an inner ear problem.

The then 48-year-old experienced paralysis of his entire right side, inability to eat or speak, and the loss of hearing in one ear.

The road to recovery was long, but by June 2009 he felt fairly near his old self again. He was left with only a slight weakness in his right side, a subtle speech problem that probably only he notices, and the need for a hearing aid in the opposite ear to the one initially affected.

Though he ended up unable to resume his old duties - despite a month of trying - he remains active today volunteering at both the hospital and a dog shelter in Arlington Heights.

Daily Herald photographer Bev Horne was having lunch in Arlington Heights in July 2014 when she suffered a devastating aneurysm that brought her to the hospital.

Despite immediate short-term memory problems that left her unable to recall anything that happened during the next three weeks, she was able to return to work in December of that year thanks to the care she received.

Healthgrades Operating Company Inc. recently named Northwest Community Hospital one of America's 100 best hospitals for stroke care. The hospital is also the only one in Illinois to receive the 2017 Healthgrades Neurosciences Stroke Care and Cranial Surgery Excellence Award.

Northwest Community is one about 100 hospitals in the U.S. to be certified as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. The certification means the hospital provides the full range of surgical services available.

"We are incredibly proud to get this certification," Northwest Community Healthcare CEO Steve Scogna said Tuesday. "It's important to recognize all the contributors."

Dr. Ali Shaibani, director of Northwest Community Healthcare's director of neurointerventional surgery, said every member of the stroke team played a vital role in the recognition.

"It takes a tremendous amount of work, and kudos to everyone here," he said.

Though Amita Health's Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village also is a comprehensive stroke center, Northwest Community's is the closest for many living northeast and northwest of Arlington Heights, said Phyllis Cerone, the hospital's executive director of critical care services.

  Stroke Program Coordinator Jan Lau looks on Tuesday as former stroke patient Mike Wett of Arlington Heights talks about his experience at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights. Bev Horne/
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