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
  • Employees celebrating their 5-year anniversary at #SinaiHospital recently enjoyed a luncheon and food truck rally in recognition of their milestone anniversary! We are so grateful for our amazing employees who make #LifeBridgeHealth such a great place to work!

    lifebridgehealth: "Employees celebrating their 5-year anniversary at #SinaiHospital recently enjoyed a luncheon and food truck rally in recognition of their milestone anniversary! We are so grateful for our amazing employees who make #LifeBridgeHealth such a great place to work!"
    17
    0
  • A large contingent from #LifeBridgeHealth joined more than 1,500 participants at the Maryland Patient Safety Center's annual conference in Baltimore. LifeBridge Health Chief Integration Officer Kelly Corbi, who serves on the board of directors for the center, introduced one of the morning presentation sessions and #NorthwestHospital Director of Quality and Patient Safety, Julie Sampson, MBA, MSN, RN, presented a poster "Northwest Hospital's Journey Towards High Reliability: What Does it Take?". LifeBridge Health also served as a Gold Sponsor for this year's event. #PatientSafety #patient

    lifebridgehealth: "A large contingent from #LifeBridgeHealth joined more than 1,500 participants at the Maryland Patient Safety Center's annual conference in Baltimore. LifeBridge Health Chief Integration Officer Kelly Corbi, who serves on the board of directors for the center, introduced one of the morning presentation sessions and #NorthwestHospital Director of Quality and Patient Safety, Julie Sampson, MBA, MSN, RN, presented a poster "Northwest Hospital's Journey Towards High Reliability: What Does it Take?". LifeBridge Health also served as a Gold Sponsor for this year's event. #PatientSafety #patient"
    14
    0
  • At #LifeBridgeHealth, we are proud to be partners in our communities. Wanda Merryman, a Samuelson Breast Care Center mammography tech, loved "School of Rock" at the Hippodrome and was excited to see one of the many ways LifeBridge Health is caring for our communities together. Where do you see LifeBridge Health out in the community? #Community #communitymatters

    lifebridgehealth: "At #LifeBridgeHealth, we are proud to be partners in our communities. Wanda Merryman, a Samuelson Breast Care Center mammography tech, loved "School of Rock" at the Hippodrome and was excited to see one of the many ways LifeBridge Health is caring for our communities together. Where do you see LifeBridge Health out in the community? #Community #communitymatters"
    10
    0
  • What's happening here? Why are we taking a picture of the fabulous team from the #LifeBridgeHealth Corporate Business Office (CBO) in Timonium? It's because the team will be profiled in an upcoming article in the Bridge, our employee newsletter. #teamlifebridge

    lifebridgehealth: "What's happening here? Why are we taking a picture of the fabulous team from the #LifeBridgeHealth Corporate Business Office (CBO) in Timonium? It's because the team will be profiled in an upcoming article in the Bridge, our employee newsletter. #teamlifebridge"
    26
    1
  • Congratulations to these Sinai team members who are the inaugural honorees for the Sam Penn Hero Awards. Twice a year, 10 frontline staff will receive this honor for going above and beyond in meeting patient expectations. The awards are named for Sam Penn, a former Sinai board member, who believed that it was our responsibility to exceed our patients' expectations. Penn's wife and sons are honoring his legacy by creating the Sam Penn Hero Awards. #Awards #LifeBridgeHealth #SinaiHospital #PatientCare

    lifebridgehealth: "Congratulations to these Sinai team members who are the inaugural honorees for the Sam Penn Hero Awards. Twice a year, 10 frontline staff will receive this honor for going above and beyond in meeting patient expectations. The awards are named for Sam Penn, a former Sinai board member, who believed that it was our responsibility to exceed our patients' expectations. Penn's wife and sons are honoring his legacy by creating the Sam Penn Hero Awards. #Awards #LifeBridgeHealth #SinaiHospital #PatientCare"
    27
    2
  • Cardiologist Dr. Brad Pfeffer recently spoke to students at McDonogh School about the importance of CPR training. #LifeBridgeHealth has partnered with the American Heart Association to provide CPR training kits to more than 100 schools in our area. Some of the students also got to come on stage to demonstrate with the kits. #CPRisWHY @american_heart #community #cpr

    lifebridgehealth: "Cardiologist Dr. Brad Pfeffer recently spoke to students at McDonogh School about the importance of CPR training. #LifeBridgeHealth has partnered with the American Heart Association to provide CPR training kits to more than 100 schools in our area. Some of the students also got to come on stage to demonstrate with the kits. #CPRisWHY @american_heart
 #community #cpr"
    15
    0
  • Our #LifeBridgeHealth purpose statement is ”caring for our communities together.” It is not just something we say, it's something that we do! With the help of our community partners, we recently welcomed dozens of local residents as part of a community hiring event. Participants interviewed for open positions at both #SinaiHospital and #Levindale. #mybmore #community

    lifebridgehealth: "Our #LifeBridgeHealth purpose statement is ”caring for our communities together.” It is not just something we say, it's something that we do! With the help of our community partners, we recently welcomed dozens of local residents as part of a community hiring event. Participants interviewed for open positions at both #SinaiHospital and #Levindale. #mybmore #community"
    18
    0
  • #NorthwestHospital was proud to join with the Northwest Academy of Health Sciences and Randallstown High School at an exhibit showing the great work of our Magnet School partnership. The exhibit was part of the Baltimore County Schools annual "state of the schools event." We are thrilled to be working with these tremendous community partners to educate and train the next generation of health care leaders. #community @teambcps

    lifebridgehealth: "#NorthwestHospital was proud to join with the Northwest Academy of Health Sciences and Randallstown High School at an exhibit showing the great work of our Magnet School partnership. The exhibit was part of the Baltimore County Schools annual "state of the schools event." We are thrilled to be working with these tremendous community partners to educate and train the next generation of health care leaders. #community @teambcps"
    26
    0
  • Happy #NationalDoctorsDay to our amazing #LifeBridgeHealth doctors! While March 30 marks the official "Doctors Day," every day is a great day to recognize our physicians, so we started the celebrations a little early with events this week at many of our facilities. To all of our #LifeBridgeHealth doctors, thank you for all that you do to take care of our patients and communities! #doctors #community

    lifebridgehealth: "Happy #NationalDoctorsDay to our amazing #LifeBridgeHealth doctors! While March 30 marks the official "Doctors Day," every day is a great day to recognize our physicians, so we started the celebrations a little early with events this week at many of our facilities. To all of our #LifeBridgeHealth doctors, thank you for all that you do to take care of our patients and communities!
#doctors #community"
    22
    0
  • It’s #OpeningDay, and #SinaiHospital hits a home run supporting the home team! #SinaiHospital employees got to enjoy a ballpark menu in the cafeteria and dressed in festive @orioles colors to celebrate. The Employee Activities Committee also handed out popcorn! #GreatestSeasonEver #Orioles #BirdLand

    lifebridgehealth: "It’s #OpeningDay, and #SinaiHospital hits a home run supporting the home team! #SinaiHospital employees got to enjoy a ballpark menu in the cafeteria and dressed in festive @orioles colors to celebrate. The Employee Activities Committee also handed out popcorn! #GreatestSeasonEver #Orioles #BirdLand"
    24
    0