Veronica Dhue is lucky to be alive. On a Sunday morning in May 2004, the 45-year-old woman collapsed, the victim of a subarachnoid hemorrhage. Veronica’s sisters called 911 and she was rushed to her local hospital emergency room in Brooklyn. Diagnosed with a burst aneurysm, the stabilized patient was transferred to North Shore University Hospital, where her sisters remembered reading about the advanced care offered by David Chalif, MD, and Avi Setton, MD.Veronica doesn’t recall anything about those scary hours, but she has heard about it often from her family. “On Monday morning, they first took pictures of my brain,” she reports. “Then, a catheter was inserted in my brain to drain away the blood that had spilled out. Once Dr. Chalif and Dr. Setton were able to look around, they located the aneurysm and decided what to do. They chose something called "coiling" and pretty soon they sealed off the bubble once and for all.”
Veronica thinks her years of misdiagnoses and delayed treatment can serve as a cautionary tale to others. “I started having headaches back in 1995 when I was in my mid-30s,” Veronica says. “There was a certain regularity to them—morning, noon and night, on schedule. I went to seven or eight doctors, but they all said ‘migraine’ and gave me pills. No one ever took an imaging test. If I had known more then, I would have kept asking questions until I found a proper explanation for what was going on.” For eight years, Veronica persevered, trying to live as normally as she could, even though in constant pain and often unable to concentrate. Since her surgery, Veronica is doing fine. She has none of the residual effects that trouble some recovering aneurysm patients, but she keeps a diary of symptoms in case she needs to report them to Drs. Chalif and Setton, who continue to monitor her progress. And her two sisters, aware that they might also be at risk, have gone in for CT scans. Happily, their news is good, too.