Show Your Gratitude: Patient Gives Back to Barrow after Life-Saving Surgery

Show Your Gratitude: Patient Gives Back to Barrow after Life-Saving Surgery

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Competence and connection are important to Kim Mantle. She found both at Barrow Neurological Institute, and now she is giving back to show her gratitude to the team that saved her life.

Kim’s journey to Barrow began when she was pregnant with her second daughter, Wells, in 2014.

“I went for a run,” says Kim, “I was drying my hair, and I couldn’t feel the right side of my body. First I couldn’t feel my hand, then I couldn’t feel my arm, and I couldn’t feel my face.”

Kim had a cerebral cavernous malformation directly above her brainstem. It is a cluster of small blood vessels with an enlarged, irregular structure. The walls of the vessels are prone to leaking and can cause neurological deficits, and death in extreme cases, if they bleed, or hemorrhage, into the brain.

Kim’s physicians in New Orleans monitored her and the malformation remained relatively stable in spite of a few more bleeds. Two years after the birth of her third daughter, Reid, Kim was experiencing more intense symptoms. Following an MRI, her neuroradiologist said it was time to have the cavernous malformation removed.

“My neurologist told me there were only five neurosurgeons in the world to be trusted,” says Kim.

At the top of the list was internationally renowned neurosurgeon Michael T. Lawton, MD, president and CEO of Barrow.

Kim did some research on social media about Dr. Lawton. She read patient stories online and learned his competence is irrefutable. Now Kim and her husband, Matt, needed a connection.

“We came in for my appointment with three pages of questions,” says Kim laughing. “He pulled up a chair right next to me and said ‘I can see you have a lot of questions, you have the floor.’” Kim also learned he had a wife and children. “He could relate to the fear we were facing.”

There was the connection. Kim and Matt knew if anyone could save her life, it was Dr. Lawton. They travelled to Phoenix for the surgery.

“Before my surgery I quoted The Big Lebowski to the anesthesiologist. ‘My life is in your hands, dude!’” says Kim. “Don’t let my family down.”

Six months into recovery, Kim and Matt brought their daughters Liv, Wells, and Reid to thank Dr. Lawton and his team.

“I didn’t talk about it with Matt or the girls,” says Kim, “But I worried about leaving my family. Dr. Lawton gave me the opportunity to be with them for years to come.”

Kim and Matt were inspired by the care they received at Barrow and made a gift to the Barrow Aneurysm and Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) Research Center. The gift will be doubled thanks to the generosity of Sam and Rita Garvin. The Garvins are matching gifts up to $500,000 after Rita received care for an aneurysm at Barrow.

Thanks to the Mantles and the Garvins, Barrow’s Aneurysm and AVM Research Center performs research to better understand the biology of aneurysms and AVMs in order to improve the lives of those affected.

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