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From Down Under to Inside the Gates

Updated: 5/20/2015

Ronald Cooper and four members of his family traveled from Australia to the Gates Vascular Institute (GVI) for lifesaving treatment of intracranial basilar artery stenosis.

In March of this year, Ron experienced two small strokes, and it was determined he had a 90-95 percent blockage of his basilar artery. His first physician offered him no hope and suggested he get his affairs in order. The family sought a second opinion and was told the best course of action would be to treat him with medication and, if he had another stroke, to perform emergency surgery.

Upon further research, Ron and his family discovered that his native Australian hospital only performed about six cases of angioplasty for basilar artery stenosis a year. So the family, led by daughter Rhonda North, launched an exhaustive Internet search for the best neurosurgeon to treat his condition. Their search led them to the GVI and L. Nelson Hopkins, MD, FACS, president, GVI, and neurosurgeon Adnan Siddiqui, MD, PhD, FACS, FAHA, professor of neurosurgery at the UB Medical School.

"I Googled doctors throughout the world and came across publications from Dr. Hopkins and Dr. Siddiqui. I wanted to find the best people in the world to help my father," said Rhonda. "When we talked to Dr. Siddiqui, he gave my father so much confidence and courage to travel the distance to Buffalo."

Rhonda continued, "My father was amazed by what Dr. Siddiqui had done. I told him this was the best guy-this is what they can do for you."

After Rhonda presented her research to her father, he easily made the decision to come to Buffalo for treatment.

The family arrived in Buffalo on Saturday, May 8, and on Tuesday, May 12, Dr. Siddiqui performed an angioplasty on Ron that was deemed a complete success. By Thursday, May 14, Ron was out of the hospital and began to tour the area, including Niagara Falls, and enjoying local delicacies like Buffalo chicken wings.

"We were wondering how they got buffalo wings out of a chicken," said Ron with a smile.

The family will stay in Buffalo untilearly June and return to Australia after Ron's final check-up.

Ron added, "Now I have confidence that I will be walking around a few more years yet. Dr. Siddiqui is a miracle man. The trip was well worth it."

Watch a video of the press conference from Time Warner Cable News