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Paralyzed Brooklyn steel worker walks again after successful surgery


Parmanand Ramjas, 31, a steel machine operator in Brooklyn, NY, was at work recently when he suddenly felt a shooting pain across his shoulder, down his back and suddenly couldn't move his legs. He had lost all function from the waist down.

Mr. Ramjas was rushed to Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn, where it was revealed that he had a massive hematoma compressing his spinal cord, causing his paralysis.

"A hematoma is a collection of clotted blood that has pooled in tissue outside of blood vessels," said Jason Ellis, MD, a cerebrovascular neurosurgeon at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center and Northwell Health's Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. "Most often, hematomas are caused by injury to the walls of a blood vessel, which can result in blood seeping through the walls and accumulating in surrounding tissue. In Mr. Ramjas' case, the source of his spinal hematoma was not immediately apparent. He suffered no trauma and didn't have any previous medical conditions that would make him vulnerable to such spontaneous bleeding."

Immediate action had to be taken to give Mr. Ramjas any hope of walking again. Emergency surgery was performed to remove the blood clot and decompress his spinal cord in the hope of reversing his paralysis. There was certainly no guarantee that he would ever regain the ability to walk.

In the surgery, Dr. Ellis encountered innumerable bleeding blood vessels around the spinal cord. "The source of Mr. Ramjas' hematoma was from a rare spinal vascular malformation," explains Dr. Ellis. "Using precise and careful microsurgical techniques, I was able to quickly remove not only the blood clot that pancaked his spinal cord to a wafer-thin size, but also removed all of the delicate vessels that were part of the vascular malformation."

Immediately after surgery, Mr. Ramjas was able to move his left foot, followed by his right foot. A couple of days later, he was able to walk. "I just broke down in tears," said Mr. Ramjas.

As a result of Wyckoff's clinical affiliation with Northwell Health, Mr. Ramjas was transferred to Lenox Hill Hospital for a follow-up spinal angiogram which was performed by Rafael Ortiz, MD, the hospital's chief of neuro-endovascular surgery and interventional neuroradiology. "A spinal angiogram is a minimally invasive procedure that offers a precise evaluation of the blood vessels surrounding the spinal cord. We were able to determine that there was no residual vascular malformation after surgery and Mr. Ramjas did not have any neurological deficits."

Mr. Ramjas is grateful to be on his feet again. "Cherish every day," said Mr. Ramjas. "I never expected this to happen to me. I cannot be more thankful to Dr. Ellis and Dr. Ortiz!"

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About Lenox Hill Hospital
Lenox Hill Hospital, a member of Northwell Health, is a 652-bed, fully accredited, acute care hospital located on Manhattan's Upper East Side with a national reputation for outstanding patient care and innovative medical and surgical treatments. US News & World Report has ranked the hospital among the nation's top 50 in Cardiology and Heart Surgery and among the top 10 hospitals in the state of New York with a total of 11 "high performing" designations for its clinical performance in Cancer, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Ear, Nose & Throat, Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Gynecology, Nephrology, Neurology & Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology and Urology. For more information, go to

About Wyckoff Heights Medical Center
Wyckoff Heights Medical Center is a 320 bed teaching hospital that offers a broad range of primary care and specialty services. The hospital operates a number of community-based health centers in Brooklyn and Queens. Wyckoff's mission is to provide Quality Health Care with Kindness. Located on the border of Brooklyn and Queens, Wyckoff's primary service area includes the Greater Bushwick Brooklyn area and the Greater Ridgewood Queens area. Established in 1889, Wyckoff is an invaluable resource to its local neighborhoods, with more than 90,000 visits to its Emergency Department, over 140,000 visits to its outpatient clinic services, and 1,600 babies delivered every year.

Michelle Pipia-Stiles
[email protected]

Barbara Osborn
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