Health & WellnessFaith & Life


By Staff     10/4/2017

There are 1.7 million traumatic brain injuries and 795,000 strokes reported annually in the U.S. Whether it’s a traumatic brain injury, the onset of a stroke, a tumor diagnosis or a back or neck disorder, it’s important to receive world-class neurological care.

Many St. Joseph Health hospitals offer the most advanced neurosurgery and rehabilitation services led by highly-skilled and compassionate physicians and caregivers; a few grateful patients are sharing their inspiring stories.


St. Jude Medical Center

For Joni Feldman, it started with the worst headache of her life. For Amber Matranga, her first symptom was falling down unconscious at work. The 75-year-old grandmother from Tustin and the 45-year-old mom from Placentia were both victims of ruptured brain aneurysms — and despite very poor odds — both would have their lives and well-being restored by a team of physicians and staff that specialize in redefining what’s possible.

Each initially went to the closest hospital, but were quickly transferred — just weeks apart — to St. Jude Medical Center, home to one of California’s most respected neurosciences institutes and stroke centers. Once inside the hospital’s Neurointerventional Suite, the minimally invasive repair or “coiling” of the ruptured blood vessels was complicated by vasospasm which dangerously narrowed and weakened the arteries of both women — a complication successfully overcome during the technically-challenging procedures.

“The survival rate for a high-grade ruptured aneurysm is very low and the odds of making a full recovery are even lower,” explains Hamed Farid, MD, MBA, medical director, St. Jude Medical Center Neurointerventional Radiology. “To see patients like Joni and Amber step back into their lives, with no permanent deficits or limitations, is a powerful reminder of why optimal outcomes matter and why, for us, the only acceptable standard is excellence.”

The St. Jude Medical Center CCU was recently awarded the Beacon Award for Excellence. The St. Jude Neurosciences Institute has earned several honors, including being named an Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center by The Joint Commission and American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. St. Jude Medical Center is proud to be among only 100 hospitals to have earned this designation in the nation, and only 10 in the state.


Mission Hospital

After 16 years working as a nurse on the stroke unit at Mission Hospital, Bernadette Espiritu, 45, never imagined she’d become a patient herself. But in February of 2016, while eating breakfast during her morning break at the hospital, Bernadette’s arm went numb.

While Bernadette was well trained on the signs of a stroke and what to look for, until then she never knew what it felt like. CAT and CT scans confirmed she had a small blood clot in her carotid artery and had in fact suffered a stroke. After spending a night in the hospital and suffering a second stroke the next day, doctors decided to perform surgery to remove plaque build-up and restore blood flow to her artery.

“Thanks to the quick thinking of my co-workers, the quality care and rehabilitation therapy I received at Mission Hospital, I’m nearly 100 percent recovered and am so happy to be back to work caring for patients going through similar situations as me,” says Bernadette.

Fortunately for Bernadette and others in south Orange County, the Mission Neuroscience Institute (MNI) offers world-class care and expertise close to home, with the most advanced neurosurgery and rehabilitation services available. The institute recently applied for Comprehensive Stroke Center designation, which is the highest level that can be achieved by a stroke program.


St. Joseph Hospital, Orange 

Neurosurgical patients at St. Joseph Hospital benefit from leading edge diagnostics, minimally invasive techniques, implantable therapies and clinical research studies. Patients receive the region’s most current and comprehensive therapies to change the course of their diseases and heal from traumatic injuries.

St. Joseph Hospital offers comprehensive care in the areas of stroke and neuro-oncology, from screening to treatment and rehabilitation services.

The hospital has established a comprehensive stroke program for the community, led by dedicated stroke care professionals. The stroke team provides evidence-based expertise in preventive education and screenings, diagnosis, immediate intervention, management and rehabilitation.

Specialists with expertise from many areas of medicine all participate in the neuro-oncology program at St. Joseph Hospital. These specialists form a multidisciplinary team that includes neurosurgeons, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists, radiologists, and pathologists as well as dieticians, social workers, cancer genetic counselors and a navigator.