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“Remarkable facility:” Aurora St. Luke’s celebrating new Neuroscience Innovation Institute that is saving lives

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- He says fate brought him to Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center, and it saved his life. The hospital has transformed the way it is treating patients with brain and spinal cord injuries.

"I think staying mentally active actually helped the recovery period," Bradley Page said.

Bradley Page

Bradley Page

Page is a successful man, a loving husband and a happy father. You have to look closely to see what could have taken it all away.

From his diagnosis in January to brain surgery in February, 54-year-old Page says nothing happened by chance -- especially when it comes to where the operation took place and who performed it.

"That night after I had my surgery, I told Dr. Kassam he is an angel here on Earth. He's got skills and intelligence and motivation that you don't find in many people in this world," Page said.

Dr. Amin Kassam is a world-renowned neurosurgeon, in his fifteenth month at Aurora St. Luke's. From the moment he arrived in Milwaukee, things began to change.

Aurora Neuroscience Innovation Institute

Aurora Neuroscience Innovation Institute

"We started really, the arrangements and the project was really conceived before I arrived. The plans were put into place. It's a pretty remarkable facility. It is very nimble," Dr. Kassam said.

Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center and Dr. Kassam developed the Aurora Neuroscience Innovation Institute.

"Not only has he improved patient outcomes here, he has also improved the quality of staff here. There are many people who want to come work for him and our service, which is unheard of," Aurora St. Luke's Neuro Surgical Lead Brian Zdrojewski said.

The crowning achievement of the hospital's neuroscience endeavor may very well be two state-of-the-art surgery suites, which include a robotic imagining system approved by the FDA days ago.

"My understanding is I think that is the first time in the world that particular optic system has every been used," Dr. Kassam said.

It is the very same room in which Page had his tumor removed.

"It was pretty incredible," Page said.

Page remembers the six-hour operation well, because he was awake the entire time!

"When I first heard about it, this awake procedure, I didn't really know what that entailed," Page said.

According to Dr. Kassam, Page's operation is part of a new way of thinking when it comes to complex brain procedures. He says patients have a much more active role in their treatment and because of new technologies and techniques, recovery time is improving dramatically. Take for instance Page, who was back home less than 24 hours after brain surgery.

"I was thinking I was going to miss work. I had planned to miss work for two weeks. I was well enough and felt well enough to sit here and work pretty much right after the surgery had been completed," Page said.

Page's recovery continues, and includes radiation -- treating the area around where the tumor was removed.

"They're projecting that once I get through this that I'm looking at decades as opposed to months or years which is pretty incredible," Page said.

The husband and father of three doesn't consider himself lucky. Page says he's blessed.

"This wasn't chance or luck. We all think this was part of God's plan," Page said.

Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center is holding a dedication ceremony and open house for the new Neuroscience Innovation Institute -- set for Thursday, April 30th.

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