Surviving Brain Hemorrhage

Surviving Brain Hemorrhage

Surgical Procedure Stopped Bleeding and Prevented Another Rupture in New Jersey Woman, Says Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Neurosurgeon

Brain hemorrhage
Frances and John Odin enjoy retirement after a successful surgery permanently repaired brain aneurysms that could have taken her life.
Photo: Courtesy of Jillian Prior

“Fran surviving was nothing short of divine intervention plus unbelievable doctors. The level of skill was beyond what I could imagine.” 
– John Odin

John Odin remembers when he got life-altering news: his wife of 27 years, Frances, had a very poor chance of surviving surgery after multiple brain aneurysms.

This life-threatening event happened when the couple was on vacation. The retired middle-school teacher, who lives in Rahway with her husband, was in Manasquan, when she got a severe headache and began vomiting. It was nothing she had ever experienced. Still, she had been in good health so they both thought it was only food poisoning and after the pain subsided, she went to bed.

Frances Odin does not remember anything after that night until waking up in the hospital two days later. Her husband remembers that his wife was not responsive the next morning and could not stand or walk. He learned later that the headache and vomiting was caused by an unexpected hemorrhage caused by the ruptured aneurysm. 

After a CT scan and CT angiogram of her brain confirmed the diagnosis, doctors at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick determined that she needed emergency brain surgery to divert fluid that was building up in her brain.

The day after the draining procedure, John Odin returned to the hospital where his wife was in surgical intensive care. He met with Gaurav Gupta, assistant professor of surgery and director of Cerebrovascular and Endovascular Neurosurgery at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and Fawaz Al-Mufti, former assistant professor of neurology, who told him that his wife had suffered a hemorrhage due to the rupture of an aneurysm. Gupta said her situation could not be more serious. 

What made Frances Odin’s medical situation so grave was that she had multiple brain aneurysms and two of those aneurysms were extremely close to each other. It was not obvious to doctors which aneurysm had ruptured so both needed to be fixed simultaneously via an endovascular coiling surgery, which temporarily stopped the brain from bleeding and causing another rupture.

After the three-hour coiling surgery where both brain aneurysms were treated through a tiny incision in Fran’s groin, Gupta told John Odin that his wife had made it successfully through surgery. 

“Fran surviving was nothing short of divine intervention plus unbelievable doctors. The level of skill was beyond what I could imagine,” John Odin said.

The day after surgery, Frances Odin was alert and recognized everyone. After 12 days in intensive care, it did not appear that she would suffer any long-term cognitive problems.

A few months after the initial surgery, Frances Odin returned to the hospital so surgeons could permanently repair the aneurysms. It was then that doctors were able to confirm that she was no longer in danger.

Today, Francis Odin takes a daily antiseizure medication and attends the RWJ Brain Aneurysm Support Group with her husband.

“I tell people going through similar experiences not to lose hope,” she said.  “Medicine has changed by leaps and bounds the past few years. Three years ago, the doctors might not have been able to do this surgery. We are truly at the frontier of medicine.”