Maui Leads State in Helping Stroke Patients

Lisa Dang-Fujishiro
Lisa Dang-Fujishiro
Dr. Ronald Boyd
Dr. Ronald Boyd

WAILUKU, Maui (KHNL) -- A Maui woman is grateful to be alive, a year after suffering a major stroke.  Under normal circumstances, she would have died.  But thanks to a medical breakthrough, she can enjoy the holidays with her family.

Lisa Dang-Fujishiro is a wife and a mom of two.

Last October, her life changed in an instant.

"I just came back from lunch and I was at my office and I had a headache, and it was a severe headache, like I couldn't keep my head up," she said.

Dang-Fujishiro was rushed to the emergency room. She suffered a ruptured cerebral aneurysm, or simply put, a blood vessel popped in her brain.

She's alive, thanks in part to this equipment, a neurovascular biplane machine.

"The advantage of the new equipment is that we can turn these images, the 3-D images and look at them in any direction that we want," said Dr. Ronald Boyd, an interventional radiologist with Maui Memorial Medical Center.

This means doctors can better isolate the aneurysm -- shown here in green --  from blood vessels.  This also means precise treatment for complicated stroke cases.

"So, it's opened up a lot of abilities to treat things in the head that we weren't able to in the past," said Dr. Boyd.

Lisa was in an induced coma for 10 days.  With the help of the biplane system, doctors were able to save her.

"It's just a miracle, that they were able to do what they did for me," said Dang-Fijishiro.

When Maui Memorial Medical Center installed the 3-D biplane machine last year, it was the first in Hawaii. Even now, it's the only one in the entire state.  Not even The Queen's Medical Center has such a machine.

Dang-Fujishiro knows the outcome might have been different if the machine wasn't available.

"I probably wouldn't be here because I was told it was a pretty bad one," she said. "It's one of the worst ones they've seen."

A year later, Dang-Fujishiro is doing just fine.

"And this is the actual aneurysm here and it's showing white," said Dr. Boyd, showing a recent 3-D scan of Dang-Fujishiro's brain. "There's no blood in the aneurysm. So this aneurysm is not at risk of rupturing, it's been fully treated."

Fully treated, and grateful to the medical staff at Maui Memorial.

"They're my lifesavers," said Dang-Fujishiro. "I'm very appreciative for everything that they've done."

Appreciative and happy to be alive.

Dang-Fujishiro said the experience totally changed her outlook on life. She doesn't take anything for granted anymore, and appreciate everything more.  Dang-Fujishiro and her family are looking forward to a wonderful holiday season.