Dance Performer Resumes Career After Being Treated for Brain Aneurysm

Gerard Jean-Baptiste as dancer performer on Norwegian Cruise Line.

Gerard Jean-Baptiste, 23, of Baldwin, NY, is grateful to neurosurgeon Amir R. Dehdashti, MD at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH), a member of Northwell Health, for having treated a brain aneurysm that could have killed him or affected his career as a dance performer had he not sought medical attention.

In January 2015, while performing in the “Festival of the Lion King” at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL, Mr. Jean-Baptiste experienced the worst headache of his life.  After the show, he experienced additional symptoms such as dizziness, nausea and double vision in his right eye.  Despite these symptoms, Mr. Jean-Baptiste decided against going to the hospital and went home. 

Shortly thereafter, he knew he needed to get help, because the symptoms worsened. At a hospital in Orlando, a computed tomography (CT) scan was performed, but it didn’t reveal anything abnormal.  Mr. Jean-Baptiste went to work the next day, but still experienced throbbing inside his head along with a droopy eyelid. 

During a trip to Long Island eight days later, Mr. Jean-Baptiste’s family urged him to seek medical attention.  A neurologist referred him to Dr. Dehdashti, NSUH’s director of cerebrovascular neurosurgery research. 

Upon reviewing a computed tomography angiography (CTA) with contrast scan, Dr. Dehdashti confirmed that Mr. Jean-Baptiste had a brain aneurysm on the right side of his brain, resting on the nerve that controls the eye and causing his symptoms.

A brain aneurysm is a weakening in a blood-vessel wall of the brain that causes the vessel to bulge or balloon out.  A brain aneurysm may cause a release of blood into the brain, which is called a subarachnoid hemorrhage and causes a sudden, severe headache.

“Because of patient’s age, location, symptoms, and size of the brain aneurysm, it was determined that surgical clipping of the aneurysm would be the best treatment option,” said Dr. Dehdashti. 

Clipping a brain aneurysm is a surgical procedure performed on both ruptured and unruptured aneurysms.  In this procedure, the neurosurgeon performs a craniotomy through a small opening in the skull and once the aneurysm is located with the operating microscope, the neurosurgeon places a clip across the base of aneurysm, cutting off the blood flow to the aneurysm and allowing flow to remain normal through the adjacent branch vessels.  The flow to the aneurysm is thus interrupted and hence the risk of rupture is eliminated.

Almost immediately after Mr. Jean-Baptiste’s surgery, his symptoms were gone. His droopy eyelid was back to normal.  Post-operative imaging confirmed that the aneurysm is completely cured. In March 2015, he was able to go back to being a performer at Walt Disney World and remained there until the end of September 2015.  He received a complete bill of health after his annual checkup this past January 2016 and signed a contract with Norwegian Cruise Line as a production dancer this past June.

“This whole experience of dealing with a brain aneurysm, which came out of nowhere, has definitely opened my eyes to what I really want to do in life,” said Mr. Jean-Baptiste.  “I don’t want to waste any time and will continue my career in dance and try new things.”​

About North Shore University Hospital
North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, a member of Northwell Health, provides a full spectrum of clinical health care services for patients of all ages. It offers a wide range of specialty and subspecialty residency programs, postgraduate training programs and clinical fellowships for research and education. The 764-bed teaching hospital, located on the 58-acre Sandra Atlas Bass Campus, is academically affiliated with the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine and employs more than 6,000 highly trained physicians, nurses and other medical staff.