Surgery Improves Quality of Life for Sinai Hospital Epilepsy Patient

Imagine being completely vulnerable, unable to speak, swallow or control your body as you lose consciousness, with little to no warning. For Yvonne Allen, 45, this scenario was a frequent occurrence.

Four to five times every month, Allen’s epilepsy would cause a sudden surge of electrical activity in her brain that led to a seizure.

“Epilepsy completely took over my life. I couldn’t drive. I couldn’t remember things. Sometimes I’d just blank out in the middle of talking to someone. I’d come to and know that I know them, but not know their name or why I’m talking to them,” Allen said.

Despite taking more than 30 pills per day, Allen continued to have seizures.

Yvonne Allen (center) with her children, (left to right) Eric Hill, Albert Howard, Devon Len and Yvonnete Allen.

Yvonne Allen (center) with her children, (left to right) Eric Hill, Albert Howard, Devon Len and Yvonnete Allen.

“When I had a seizure, my doctor would adjust my medication, but it never seemed to help. I needed to try something different, so my doctor referred me to the Berman Brain & Spine Institute,” Allen said.

Explains P. Jay Foreman, Ph.D., M.D., director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain & Spine Institute (BSI): “A seizure is caused by an abnormal electrical discharge of neurons in the brain. Because the lobes of the brain control different behaviors, movements and experiences, the site of the discharge dictates the behavior we see outwardly.”

The Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at Sinai Hospital has been designated as a Level 4 center by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers, meaning it has the professional expertise, with fellowship-trained epilepsy specialists, and facilities to provide medical evaluation and treatment of the highest level for patients with complex epilepsy.

Because Allen’s epilepsy could not be controlled with medication, physicians at the BSI believed the best course of action was surgery to remove the seizure-producing area of her brain.

“I was scared to take such a drastic step, but the doctors and staff helped me feel more comfortable. And my kids and fiancé encouraged me to go through with the procedure. They worried about me constantly, never knowing when and where I would have a seizure. I needed to take hold of any opportunity to get my life back,” Allen said.

On October 15, 2015, Allen underwent a right temporal lobectomy, the first surgery of its kind performed at Sinai Hospital.

“To be considered for this type of surgery, patients undergo testing to locate the source of their seizures and to ensure that removing that region of the brain will not impact their speech, mobility or quality of life,” said Omar Zalatimo, M.D., M.P.H., M.H.A., director of Functional Neurosurgery at the BSI and Ms. Allen’s neurosurgeon.

Allen spent less than a week in the hospital following the procedure. Since the procedure, she has not had a single seizure or suffered any facial paralysis or coordination issues associated with epilepsy-related brain surgery.

“I still don’t go many places by myself, but as time goes by, I’m becoming braver. I would recommend this surgery to anybody who was struggling the way I was. I’m a brand new me, and you can barely even see a scar,” Allen said.

To schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained physicians and find out why LifeBridge Health is Baltimore's premier health care organization, call 410-601-WELL.

Print this entry

No Comments Yet.

Leave a comment

*

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

LinkedId

Instagram

Follow Me on Instagram
  • A great evening at Springwell Senior Living, one of #LifeBridgeHealth's newest partners. Members of our team recently joined residents and families for Springwell's third annual "Partners in Health Care Fair." Among the departments in attendance: outpatient pharmacy, Levindale physical therapy, @lifebridgefit, HomeCare Maryland, marketing and population health. Thanks to everyone who attended! #Baltimore #Maryland #healthcare #seniorliving #community

    lifebridgehealth: "A great evening at Springwell Senior Living, one of #LifeBridgeHealth's newest partners. Members of our team recently joined residents and families for Springwell's third annual "Partners in Health Care Fair." Among the departments in attendance: outpatient pharmacy, Levindale physical therapy, @lifebridgefit, HomeCare Maryland, marketing and population health. Thanks to everyone who attended! #Baltimore #Maryland #healthcare #seniorliving #community"
    14
    1
  • #Repost @councilmanyitzy ・・・ While door knocking in the Pimlico neighborhood over a year ago, I learned that many kids did not have access to books. I pledged to bring books to where the kids are. Tonight we delivered on that promise. It was an honor to rollout the little free library 📚 initiative with @lifebridgehealth & @phrenaissance tonight in the Pimlico neighborhood. #promiseskept #books #littlefreelibrary #baltiMORE #commUNITY #wecandobetter

    lifebridgehealth: "#Repost @councilmanyitzy ・・・
While door knocking in the Pimlico neighborhood over a year ago, I learned that many kids did not have access to books. I pledged to bring books to where the kids are. Tonight we delivered on that promise. It was an honor to rollout the little free library 📚 initiative with @lifebridgehealth & @phrenaissance tonight in the Pimlico neighborhood. #promiseskept #books #littlefreelibrary #baltiMORE #commUNITY #wecandobetter"
    17
    0
  • #LifeBridgeHealth is celebrating #SpiritDay! Employees from Sinai Community Care OB/GYN wore purple and took the Spirit Day Pledge to support LGBTQ family members and friends who disproportionately face bullying and harassment because of their identities. #Baltimore #Maryland #hospital #sinaihospital

    lifebridgehealth: "#LifeBridgeHealth is celebrating #SpiritDay! Employees from Sinai Community Care OB/GYN wore purple and took the Spirit Day Pledge to support LGBTQ family members and friends who disproportionately face bullying and harassment because of their identities. #Baltimore #Maryland #hospital #sinaihospital"
    16
    0
  • Congratulations to these #SinaiHospital employees who received recognition through the iCARE program, which gives patients the opportunity to recognize employees for providing excellent care and service. #PatientExperience director Katie Starkey delivered the good news to these deserving team members. See more pics on our Facebook page! #Baltimore #Maryland #hospital #healthcare #patientcare

    lifebridgehealth: "Congratulations to these #SinaiHospital employees who received recognition through the iCARE program, which gives patients the opportunity to recognize employees for providing excellent care and service. #PatientExperience director Katie Starkey delivered the good news to these deserving team members. See more pics on our Facebook page! #Baltimore #Maryland #hospital #healthcare #patientcare"
    14
    1
  • Seeing is believing, and this team from the Krieger Eye Institute definitely "walks the walk" when it comes to supporting our communities. They recently laced up their sneakers to participate in the annual walk to support the @amdiabetesassn. #LifeBridgeHealth #stopdiabetes #diabetes #health #maryland #baltimore

    lifebridgehealth: "Seeing is believing, and this team from the Krieger Eye Institute definitely "walks the walk" when it comes to supporting our communities. They recently laced up their sneakers to participate in the annual walk to support the @amdiabetesassn. #LifeBridgeHealth #stopdiabetes #diabetes #health #maryland #baltimore"
    20
    0
  • Today’s the big day! The 12th annual #SaveALimb Fund Fest is underway! Many thanks to our participants and volunteers for their show of support for a very worthy cause—patients in need at the Rubin Institute of Advanced #Orthopedics at #SinaiHospital. We’ll be sharing pictures from today’s event, so stay tuned! #Baltimore #Maryland #giveback

    lifebridgehealth: "Today’s the big day! The 12th annual #SaveALimb Fund Fest is underway! Many thanks to our participants and volunteers for their show of support for a very worthy cause—patients in need at the Rubin Institute of Advanced #Orthopedics at #SinaiHospital. We’ll be sharing pictures from today’s event, so stay tuned! #Baltimore #Maryland #giveback"
    14
    0
  • #Repost @carroll_hospital #lifebridgehealth ・・・ The CDC says, "Your best shot is the flu shot." #fluvaccine #fluseason #getyourflushot #healthcare

    lifebridgehealth: "#Repost @carroll_hospital #lifebridgehealth ・・・
The CDC says, "Your best shot is the flu shot." #fluvaccine #fluseason #getyourflushot #healthcare"
    9
    0
  • @wbaltv11 Baltimore recently interviewed this Eagle Scout who is volunteering his time to help children at the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children's Hospital at #SinaiHospital. You can find out why on WBAL-TV's 5pm news on Wednesday, October 11. #Baltimore #Maryland #healthcare #hospital #childrenshospital #eaglescout

    lifebridgehealth: "@wbaltv11 Baltimore recently interviewed this Eagle Scout who is volunteering his time to help children at the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children's Hospital at #SinaiHospital. You can find out why on WBAL-TV's 5pm news on Wednesday, October 11. #Baltimore #Maryland #healthcare #hospital #childrenshospital #eaglescout"
    27
    1
  • #NorthwestHospital leaders recently welcomed Governor General Sir Rodney Williams of #Antigua and #Barbuda (second from left,) and his delegation to the hospital. Dr. Ronald Ginsberg presented the governor and his wife with a $2,500 gift from the Northwest Medical Staff to support the #hurricane relief effort. Northwest has a longstanding relationship with the American University of Antigua College of Medicine. #hurricanerelief

    lifebridgehealth: "#NorthwestHospital leaders recently welcomed Governor General Sir Rodney Williams of #Antigua and #Barbuda (second from left,) and his delegation to the hospital. Dr. Ronald Ginsberg presented the governor and his wife with a $2,500 gift from the Northwest Medical Staff to support the #hurricane relief effort. Northwest has a longstanding relationship with the American University of Antigua College of Medicine. #hurricanerelief"
    23
    0
  • Did you know that #SinaiHospital is a Level 2 #trauma center? Following the tragedy in #LasVegas, members of the trauma team spoke with WBAL-TV about how hospitals plan and prepare for emergency events. Watch for the story on WBAL-TV's 5 & 6 pm news. #ER #Emergency #Plan #EmergencyPlan #Prepare #Hospital #Healthcare #LifeBridgeHealth

    lifebridgehealth: "Did you know that #SinaiHospital is a Level 2 #trauma center? Following the tragedy in #LasVegas, members of the trauma team spoke with WBAL-TV about how hospitals plan and prepare for emergency events. Watch for the story on WBAL-TV's 5 & 6 pm news. #ER #Emergency #Plan #EmergencyPlan #Prepare #Hospital #Healthcare #LifeBridgeHealth"
    19
    0