When Daniel Coppoletta was getting ready for his daughter’s wedding rehearsal last fall he knew something was wrong.
“I was losing feeling,” said Coppoletta, 59. “Everything got numb and I couldn’t move parts of my legs and feet.”
Instead of the rehearsal he headed to Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center’s (PSJMC) Emergency Room (ER) where he soon found himself in surgery after an MRI scan showed a herniated disc severely pushing on his spinal nerves.
“By the time Daniel got to the ER, he was essentially paralyzed from the waist down,” said orthopedic spinal surgeon Chintan Sampat, M.D., who performed Coppoletta’s surgery. “Timing is critical and we moved quickly to get him into surgery.”
Dr. Sampat performed an urgent laminectomy, and removed the disc that was severely pushing on the patient’s nerves, thereby taking the pressure off.
“One of the great assets at Saint Joe’s is the Neuroscience Institute,” said Dr. Sampat. “Their neuroscience team is performing very specialized work that you would only find in a university hospital setting 24/7 with highly complex cases. The ER doctor was quickly able to diagnose the issue and the neuroscience surgical team including specialized nurses and surgical techs had a huge role in the outcome. Without them, it would have taken several hours just to prepare for surgery. At Saint Joe’s it took only 30 minutes, which was a key to his nerve recovery. He was certainly very lucky he went to Saint Joe’s.”
Coppoletta knows …
“People take for granted the simple things we do every day,” said Coppoletta, who now walks using only a cane. “Dr. Sampat did a wonderful job. He got me in there right away. I really believe if I’d waited any longer I wouldn’t be walking right now.”