Commack Resident Recovers from Life-Threatening Brain Bleed

BAY SHORE, NY – A 55-year-old Commack woman was going through her routine at work when she felt a sudden pop and then warmth radiating inside her head, accompanied by nausea and a feverish feeling.

Patricia Tilleli’s co-workers realized something was not right and called an ambulance that rushed the 55-year-old woman to Southside Hospital, part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System.

Mrs. Tilleli was seen by Southside neurosurgeon Justin Thomas, MD and was diagnosed with a spontaneous, non-traumatic subdural hematoma on the left side of her brain.  This type of hematoma occurs when blood gathers between the dura, which is the strongest, outermost membrane layer protecting the brain, and the brain itself.

“What was unique about Mrs. Tilleli is there was no history of trauma associated with her presentation,” said Dr. Thomas. “While spontaneous subdural hematomas are a known entity, there are relatively few cases reviewed in the neurosurgical literature.  This can, however, be secondary to seemingly mild injuries that do not involve direct trauma to the head.”

Because of her critical condition, Mrs. Tilleli was immediately taken to the hospital’s operating room.

“A craniotomy was performed to open the skull, access and remove the blood clot below the dural layer, and stop the hemorrhaging,” Dr. Thomas said. “It was only until the time of the operation that we could see under direct visualization a rupture of one of the brain’s bridging veins between the cortex and the dura, which caused the formation of a blood clot.”

Post-operatively, a (computed tomography) CT angiogram of the head and neck was done that showed complete removal of the hematoma with relief of the pressure that the large blood clot was exerting on Mrs. Tilleli’s brain.  There was no evidence of an underlying vascular malformation that may have accounted for the bleeding.

Mrs. Tilleli’s post-surgical care included inpatient rehabilitation, along with physical and speech therapy at the hospital, as well as conventional angiography as a confirmatory test to rule out the presence of an underlying vascular malformation that may have accounted for her spontaneous hemorrhage.

Mrs. Tilleli will celebrate her one-year anniversary since her surgery on April 4.

“I don’t take anything for granted,” she said. “I appreciate everything.  Sometimes, I watch the news and I see that people have died from one thing or another and I reflect on my own life-threatening experience, and wonder why was I spared?  I am grateful to Dr. Thomas and the staff at Southside Hospital for having saved my life.”

To learn more about Southside Hospital’s Department of Neurosciences, click here.


About the North Shore-LIJ Health System


One of the nation's largest health systems, North Shore-LIJ delivers world-class clinical care throughout the New York metropolitan area, pioneering research at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, a visionary approach to medical education highlighted by the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, and healthcare coverage to individuals, families and businesses through the CareConnect Insurance Co. Inc. North Shore-LIJ cares for people at every stage of life at 19 hospitals and more than 400 outpatient physician practices throughout the region. North Shore-LIJs owned hospitals and long-term care facilities house more than 6,400 beds, employ nearly 11,000 nurses and have affiliations with about 10,000 physicians. With a workforce of about 54,000, North Shore-LIJ is the largest private employer in New York State.  For more information, go to




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