Medical student returns to thank University Hospital doctors after "miraculous" recovery

2 years 10 months 2 weeks ago Friday, May 06 2016 May 6, 2016 Friday, May 06, 2016 3:07:00 PM CDT May 06, 2016 in News
By: Maia McDonald, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA — With a tearful smile and walking on two legs, 26-year-old Sydney Priest returned to University hospital Friday to thank the doctors who helped her recover just a few months after having a rare stroke.

Priest, a former student at the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, spent two weeks in the neuroangiography suite after having a basilar artery occlusion, the worst kind of clot-related stroke. There were smiles and laughter as she hugged hospital staff.

“I’m extremely thankful," Priest said. "I wouldn’t be here today [if it wasn't for them].”

Priest, walking on two legs, was surprise to the doctors as many of them expected her recovery to possible take years.

“For her to recover this quickly is quite rare," University Hospital stroke coordinator Tami Harris said. "We expected it to take years probably. Mostly six months is where we were thinking she might be able to walk or balance, but when she gave us a call that she was actually walking, we were all surprised.”

“I promised [the] nurse that I would walk in six months and it’s been even less than that,” Priest said as she struggled through tears.

When Priest was first admitted to University Hospital, she was unable to speak and the right side of her body was paralyzed. She needed two people to help her whenever she moved up or down.

Doctors said that although strokes happen to anyone, it was unusual for someone so young to have one. University Hospital neurologist Vikas Gupta, who helped treat Priest, said her progress has been a miracle so far.

“It is rare for us to see these kinds of strokes, especially in patients as young as Sydney,” Gupta said. “When we do see these strokes, the damage often is severe and widespread. However, Sydney’s resiliency surprised us all. Once we removed the clot, she began to regain normal blood flow to her brainstem, and her condition gradually improved. Her recovery has been nothing short of phenomenal.”

Priest says she's lucky to be where she is. 

"It takes a long long time," Priest said. "I've seen a lot of stroke patients in the rehabilitation that I'm at and I think I've surpassed them a hundred times over. There's some still in wheelchairs that can't walk." 

Doctors think there are several things that could have contributed to Priest’s fast progress.

“We see a lot of patients with these types strokes who are a lot older than Sydney who have a lot of other medical comorbidities which makes the recovery somewhat more challenging,” said Kelsey Wilkinson, an occupational therapist at University Hospital.  “They might not make as extreme of a recovery so her being so young and active before this happened definitely helps. And she’s so motivated and such great family support. Those play into her recovery as well. “

The event was also emotional for Priest’s parents who were also at the event. Her father was amazed at the impact Sydney has had on people.  

“I had to withdraw her [from school]," he said. "That day was really hard, [and] probably one of the hardest days for me, because I didn’t realize how much she had already impacted students, the dean, [and] the president. They were all very emotional. I couldn’t hold it together. I was very proud of her that day, because she had touched them and it touched me.”

Priest was born with a congenital heart blockage and wears a pacemaker, a factor doctors think may have contributed to her stroke. Priest is continuing her recovery in Kansas City closer to home. She plans to return to medical school in the fall and pursue a career in rehabilitation.

“I really liked my rehab doctor at KU," she said. "I just saw what she did and how she helped me and I think I could inspire people to do the same."

 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Law enforcement agencies are turning to social media to connect with the people they serve. Police departments, sheriff's... More >>
25 minutes ago Sunday, March 24 2019 Mar 24, 2019 Sunday, March 24, 2019 6:43:00 PM CDT March 24, 2019 in News
SALINE COUNTY - A body was recovered from the Missouri River Sunday afternoon. The Saline County Sheriff's Office said... More >>
2 hours ago Sunday, March 24 2019 Mar 24, 2019 Sunday, March 24, 2019 4:50:00 PM CDT March 24, 2019 in News
If you or someone you know might be at risk of suicide, here's how to get help : In the... More >>
3 hours ago Sunday, March 24 2019 Mar 24, 2019 Sunday, March 24, 2019 3:35:00 PM CDT March 24, 2019 in News
(CNN) - The special counsel did not find Trump campaign or associates conspired with Russia. "The special counsel's investigation... More >>
6 hours ago Sunday, March 24 2019 Mar 24, 2019 Sunday, March 24, 2019 1:05:00 PM CDT March 24, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A locally-owned beer shop will close its doors for good on Wednesday. Craft Beer Cellar announced its... More >>
8 hours ago Sunday, March 24 2019 Mar 24, 2019 Sunday, March 24, 2019 11:08:00 AM CDT March 24, 2019 in News
(CNN) -- The evacuation of passengers from a cruise ship off the western coast of Norway has come to an... More >>
8 hours ago Sunday, March 24 2019 Mar 24, 2019 Sunday, March 24, 2019 10:14:41 AM CDT March 24, 2019 in News
(CNN) — Rescuers are scrambling to rescue about 1,300 passengers and crew from a cruise ship off Norway... More >>
19 hours ago Saturday, March 23 2019 Mar 23, 2019 Saturday, March 23, 2019 11:09:00 PM CDT March 23, 2019 in News
MOBERLY — Moberly Police said they have arrested a man who tried to escape from them. According to Moberly... More >>
23 hours ago Saturday, March 23 2019 Mar 23, 2019 Saturday, March 23, 2019 8:05:00 PM CDT March 23, 2019 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — Arkansas-based Tyson Foods is recalling more than 69,000 pounds (31,297 kilograms) of frozen, ready-to-eat chicken strips because... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, March 23 2019 Mar 23, 2019 Saturday, March 23, 2019 6:32:00 PM CDT March 23, 2019 in News
If you or someone you know might be at risk of suicide, here's how to get help : In the... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, March 23 2019 Mar 23, 2019 Saturday, March 23, 2019 4:45:00 PM CDT March 23, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — Boone County officials have found an elderly man who went missing in Columbia, Saturday. Officials said they ended... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, March 23 2019 Mar 23, 2019 Saturday, March 23, 2019 3:56:00 PM CDT March 23, 2019 in News
SUNRISE BEACH - The smell of fresh barbecue filled the air at the Bear Bottom Resort this afternoon. The community... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, March 23 2019 Mar 23, 2019 Saturday, March 23, 2019 3:20:00 PM CDT March 23, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A fire broke out at the intersection of Broadway and Old Highway 63 South. The fire was... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, March 23 2019 Mar 23, 2019 Saturday, March 23, 2019 3:00:00 PM CDT March 23, 2019 in News
BOWLING GREEN — A student at Bowling Green High School died Friday after a car crash according to the... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, March 23 2019 Mar 23, 2019 Saturday, March 23, 2019 2:55:00 PM CDT March 23, 2019 in News
AUDRAIN COUNTY - The Audrain County Sheriff's Office is searching for a man wanted on outstanding felony charges. In... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, March 23 2019 Mar 23, 2019 Saturday, March 23, 2019 12:31:00 PM CDT March 23, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia city leaders met in a closed meeting on Friday to propose ways to build relationships between the... More >>
2 days ago Friday, March 22 2019 Mar 22, 2019 Friday, March 22, 2019 6:39:00 PM CDT March 22, 2019 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — Special counsel Robert Mueller on Friday turned over his long-awaited final report on the contentious Russia... More >>
2 days ago Friday, March 22 2019 Mar 22, 2019 Friday, March 22, 2019 4:23:00 PM CDT March 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Parts of northwest Missouri are being evacuated following severe flooding throughout the day. Officials in St. Joseph... More >>
2 days ago Friday, March 22 2019 Mar 22, 2019 Friday, March 22, 2019 3:25:00 PM CDT March 22, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 61°
8pm 57°
9pm 54°
10pm 53°
11pm 51°