MEDICAL MINDS: Dr. Michael Kelly

Dr. Michael Kelly was in Cleveland, Ohio, for advanced training when he saved the life of his first patient from Saskatchewan. Thanks to a fellowship from the RUH Foundation, Saskatoon Health Region and University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine, Dr. Kelly was able to train at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic and at Stanford University in California. While in Cleveland, he treated a large and volatile aneurysm in the brain of a teenager from Humboldt who could not be treated closer to home.

One year later, a follow-up examination showed no sign of the aneurysm in her brain. “That kind of result is the reason why I’ve spent sixteen years of my life in post-secondary training,” says Dr. Kelly. 

A Ticking Time Bomb 

A cerebral aneurysm is a weak spot on a blood vessel in the brain that balloons out and fills with blood. If the aneurysm ruptures, it causes bleeding in and around the brain. It’s a ticking time bomb. Sixty percent of those who suffer a ruptured aneurysm either die or experience permanent brain damage. Dr. Kelly specializes in a minimally invasive endovascular surgical technique that involves inserting a tiny catheter into the femoral artery in the patient’s leg and using x-ray technology to “see” in real time as a stent is guided through the body to the brain. The stent is placed across the neck of the aneurysm, chocking off the blood supply.

“The expertise to treat her wasn’t available in Saskatchewan, so she was sent to another western Canadian city, but they couldn’t help either. I got called to see if there was anything we could do in Cleveland,” says Dr. Kelly, “She had a huge aneurysm, about four centimetres. That’s really big, and large aneurysms are more prone to rupture.”

Back to Saskatchewan

Dr. Kelly returned to Royal University Hospital in July 2008 and has established a neuroendovascular treatment program for the people of Saskatchewan. “I feel strongly that a province with a population of one million people should offer this treatment,” he says.

Thanks to the $15 million Royal Care Campaign, RUH Foundation was able to allocate $500,000 for specialist training, so dedicated medical professionals such as Dr. Kelly can expand their knowledge and skills for the benefit of everyone at home in Saskatchewan.   

 

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