Tom Blaising - Bronson Healthcare
“An interesting story…basically because it saved my life!” –Tom Blaising

Tom Blaising and his wife were looking forward to a relaxing weekend at their cottage in South Haven. However, their excitement was quickly brought to a halt before they even walked through the front door. Blaising’s wife Janice noticed he was slurring his speech and that his eyes didn’t look right. Blaising had suffered a previous stroke in 2013. Recognizing the signs of stroke, Janice immediately called 911.

An ambulance took Blaising to South Haven Community Hospital (SHCH), where they administered tPA (a medicine to help dissolve the blood clot). After consulting with the doctor that previously treated Tom’s stroke (Dean Kindler, MDBronson Neuroscience Center), SHCH arranged for him to be airlifted to Bronson Methodist Hospital. Tom said, “I believe they sent me to Bronson because they had what I needed, including Dr. Miller.”

Upon Blaising’s arrival, the stroke team realized tPA was not dissolving the large, dense blood clot in Blaising’s brain. Neurointerventional Surgeon Jeffrey Miller, MD, with Bronson Neuroscience Center took quick action. Blaising received an intracranial thrombectomy, a procedure that saved his life. 
Dr. Miller used the Solitaire™ Flow-Restoration device to remove the clot that was blocking the flow of blood to Blaising’s brain. It can help save the lives of patients whose clots are too large for tPA to dissolve, like Blaising, or who arrive at the hospital too late for effective treatment with tPA.   

For the procedure, Dr. Miller threads a thin tube through an artery in the groin up to the brain. Then he advances a second, smaller tube with a miniature stent at its tip within the first tube, pushing it forward through the clot. As the stent is retracted, it expands into the clot, grabbing it for easy retrieval.

“Mr. Blaising was an ideal candidate for this minimally invasive stroke procedure with this device,” says Dr. Miller. “The best part of my job is seeing the lifesaving effects of the emergency stroke surgeries I perform. I cannot give enough praise to the medical personnel—including emergency room doctors, emergency medical technicians, nurses, and others— who make the rapid transfer and delivery of patients to Bronson in time for us to save their brain.”  

In addition to the stroke, Blaising was also diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat that caused of his stroke. When he woke up after the procedure, he had no feeling on the right side of his body. But after a three-day stay in the hospital, he was almost completely recovered. 

Blaising praised Dr. Miller, not just for his skills and expertise, but also for putting his family at ease after the procedure and for thoroughly explaining what happened.

Now, four months later, Blaising is feeling good and is excited to be living his life again:  “Here I am! Telling my story!” Aside from being a little tired sometimes from his heart, he is back to being a husband, father and grandfather. He is thrilled to be able to plan new adventures and spend time with his family, “Everything went remarkably well; who can say anything bad about my outcome?”

Find a Doctor Icon

Looking for a Bronson doctor?
Find the perfect fit for you.

Search Now

Donate Icon

Help Bronson support our community with a monetary donation.

Donate Today

Positivity Icon

Have you experienced Bronson Positivity?
Share your story now.

Share Your Positivity

View Additional Section Content