Tuesday, May 15, 2007


MAYWOOD, Ill. - To celebrate National Stroke Month and showcase advances in stroke prevention and treatment, Loyola University Health System will host "Stroke Survivor Art Exhibit," an exhibit of renowned artist, stroke survivor and Loyola patient, Yochy Lapidot Menachem, May 15 - May 26, at the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, 2160 S. First Avenue, Maywood, Ill.

Yochy, 48, refused to give up when two strokes (at 39 and 40) paralyzed her right side and impaired her speech. Already diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, now the Chicago north shore author, wife, teacher and mother could neither speak nor walk.

So, right-handed Yochy underwent intensive stroke rehabilitation, where she relearned English and Hebrew, and taught herself to paint with her left hand. The result, paintings in pointillism style which requires extreme control, expressed vivid emotions and launched her art career.

Today, Yochy's paintings hang in the Houston Holocaust Museum and the Israeli Consulate to Chicago and the Midwest. Yoshy's work is in the archive of Yad Vashem The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem. Loyola's May 15 - 26 art exhibit features 12 of her original paintings.

"Yochy's tenacity in the face of many challenges is a message of hope to patients and caregivers," said her physician, Dr. Jose Biller, chair, department of neurology, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, Ill. "She is an excellent role model for us all."

Yochy, Dr. Jose Biller and other members of Loyola's 24/7 stroke team will speak at the opening reception of the art exhibit, 10 a.m., Tuesday, May 15.

"This is no ordinary art reception," said Biller. "It's the story of courage, strength and determination." Yochy said that after her two strokes she would not give up. "I thought," she said, "at least I am alive." And then she developed a new career that provides hope to others in the face of adversity.

A native of Israel and the daughter of Holocaust survivors, Yochy drew inspiration from exposure to art as a youngster in Tel Aviv. Holocaust Museum Houston displays Yochy's "The Red Space," a tribute to Israeli astronaut Col. Ilan Ramon who perished in the Columbia space shuttle disaster Feb. 1, 2003.

For the second year in a row, Loyola has earned the Gold Seal of Approval(tm) for stroke care. The Joint Commission has recertified Loyola as a Primary Stroke Center. Loyola first earned this distinction in 2006 after the Joint Commission conducted an unannounced on-site review.

Patients treated at Primary Stroke Centers receive rapid diagnosis and care that is based on national guidelines which can significantly improve outcomes. Because the first three hours after a stroke can make the difference between functioning and disability, integrated communication between the Emergency Department, the stroke team and the Emergency Medical Services personnel is vital.

Because the outcome of acute stroke treatment is time-sensitive, Loyola's stroke team is adept at immediately determining which testing will yield the best diagnostic information, whether it's CT (computed tomography) scans, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), PET (positron emission tomography) or other tests. Another hallmark of a Primary Stroke Center is the capability of performing an imaging study within 25 minutes after the doctor's order and getting it read by a physician within 20 minutes of completion.

Loyola's multidisciplinary stroke program includes state-of-the-art prevention, diagnosis, medical/surgical/endovascular treatment and rehabilitation. For information on the artist, email: theflyingwheelchair@yahoo.com or call (224) 392-9100. For further information on Loyola's stroke program, or to make an appointment with Biller, visit www.LoyolaMedicine.org or call (888) LUHS-888.

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is part of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is a national Catholic health system with an enduring legacy and a steadfast mission to be a transforming and healing presence within the communities we serve. Trinity is committed to being a people-centered health care system that enables better health, better care and lower costs. Trinity Health has 88 hospitals and hundreds of continuing care facilities, home care agencies and outpatient centers in 21 states and 119,000 employees.