May 17, 2017

Statewide Collaboration Save's Patient's Life

Merrill Havitt and his wife, Sandra.

When it comes to stroke and neurovascular care at Michigan Medicine, it takes a dedicated team of experts to keep patients safe and healthy. It also takes collaboration.

Just ask Merrill Harvitt and his family.

In 2015, Harvitt suffered serious bleeding on his brain while at his home in Traverse City, Michigan. Upon his arrival in the emergency department at Munson Hospital, he was seen by Thomas Schermerhorn, M.D., who has an appointment in the U-M Department of Neurosurgery.

“He had massive bleeding in two different areas of his brain,” Schermerhorn said.

Merrill’s status was critical, and the services provided in Traverse City were not as specialized as what Michigan Medicine could offer. So Schermerhorn called colleague Aditay Pandey, M.D., assistant professor of neurosurgery and surgical director of the U-M Comprehensive Stroke Center, to discuss what could be done for his patient.

What followed was an inspirational story of teamwork and expertise. Schermerhorn began a procedure on Harvitt’s brain in Traverse City and — thanks to a Survival Flight team — Harvitt was then transported to U-M for Pandey to finish the procedure.

The collaboration didn’t stop there. A group of expert nurses, physical therapists and staff in the neuro intensive care unit helped Harvitt get back to full health. Today, he has no lingering effects of his stroke.

“We thank God every day for Dr. Schermerhorn for getting Merrill’s treatment started, and for Dr. Pandey for doing everything that he did for us,” said Sandra Harvitt, Merrill’s wife. “It’s a true miracle, really.”

In honor of National Stroke Awareness Month, click on the video below to learn Harvitt’s remarkable story.

(text Copyright 2017 Regents of the University of Michigan.)