Darrell Carter had been living with ataxia, a degenerative disease of the nervous system, for about six weeks before he ended up in the emergency room at Mercy Health – Lourdes Hospital. The 61-year-old was experiencing many ataxia symptoms including slurred speech, stumbling, falling and incoordination.
All of this was on top of Darrell’s previous hydrocephalus diagnosis, which is when an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid occurs within the brain.
“I had a mini stroke a few years back and was diagnosed with hydrocephalus. I know I should have followed up with the doctor, but I never did anything. I guess I was too chicken,” says Darrell.
Darrell was admitted to Lourdes Hospital where he met Jonathan Couch, DO, a neurosurgeon. Dr. Couch performed a high-volume lumbar puncture in order to drain some cerebral spinal fluid to improve Darrell’s gait and memory.
“The procedure worked, and my walking started to improve,” Darrell shares.
From there, Dr. Couch recommended that Darrell undergo an additional procedure, a ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VP) placement. This would help drain some of the excess fluid into Darrell’s abdominal cavity.
“I decided to go through with the procedure because Dr. Couch was with me every step of the way,” Darrell reveals. “When I asked an honest question, he gave me an honest answer and I like that about him. He explains everything from top to bottom.”
After this latest procedure, Darrell has been on the mend and doing great. Tiffany Cates, APRN, NP-C, was part of Darrell’s care team.
She shares, “Dr. Couch and I were thrilled when Darrell arrived at his follow up appointment without using an assistive device. We are so excited for his future!”
Darrell’s walking has dramatically improved, his short-term memory has improved, and he is now back to work. This holiday season, Darrell is thankful for the neurology care he received when he needed it most.
“I’m just really thankful to God and to Dr. Couch for getting me though this,” he says. “They gave me the courage to go through with the procedures.”
“Mr. Carter’s case is a very special one to me – not because of the procedure itself but rather just how well he did,” shares Dr. Couch. “He went from barely being able to stand and take a few steps to essentially walking normally. He went back to work. It is these types of clinical outcomes that we truly enjoy achieving. Mr. Carter was scared to have the surgery and was told in the past not to do it. We had a long discussion about the surgery and his faith in me and our team grew. He developed that courage to proceed with surgery. We are so happy to have been able to serve Mr. Carter.”
Learn more about the neurology services we offer at Mercy Health and find a provider near you.