Fox 7: Brain Surgeons Save Their Nurse


On April 8, Fox 7 Anchor/Reporter Ann Wyatt Little taped a story on Gigi Gelvosa, a Ascension Seton operating room nurse who worked closely with top surgeons in the Ascension Seton Brain and Spine Institute — and who suddenly found herself in need of their expert care. Drs. Mateo Ziu and James Rose were among the surgical team who performed a new surgery to save Gelvosa’s life. Last Friday, the surgeons visited their fast-improving patient — and Dr. Rose fulfilled Gigi’s request for some live jazz music. You can see the full story, including the video report, on Fox 7’s website. An edited version of the written story is below.

Ascension Seton Nurse Recovering Well After Stroke, Thanks to New Technology

By Ann Wyatt Little

img_1090cropped450sizeAfter a full day working in the operating room, a Ascension Seton nurse found herself back there the next day — but as a patient.

Gigi Gelvosa suffered a massive stroke but new technology allowed her doctors, and in this case co-workers, the opportunity to give her a second chance.

A stroke her doctors say she probably shouldn’t have survived.

“I don’t remember much of it at all,” said Gelvosa.

“We always suffer together with the patients, but when it’s someone you know and you worked with the day before and you learn is unconscious, the emotions run deep,” said Dr. Mateo Ziu, a neurosurgeon with the Ascension Seton Brain and Spine Institute.

“We know and love her and work with her every day. She was in a coma and probably had a nonsurvivable brain hemorrhage if we had not done this,” said Neurosurgeon Dr. James Rose.

Like with any other patient, Ziu jumped into action. Gigi just happened to be a good candidate, and the first candidate in Central Texas, for surgery using what’s knows as the BrainPath tool. The device and technology allow doctors to reach deep parts of the brain without damaging the brain.

“The tube helps us get to the center in a small opening and take the center of the clot out,” said Ziu. Instead of spending months in a coma or the intensive care unit, Gigi was awake within days.

When she came to, she had a request.

“I wanted to listen to him play, and he said yes,” said Gigi. She wanted Dr. Rose to play music for her. If you visit the Elephant Room in downtown Austin you may have heard Dr. Rose play jazz music.

“You pick the song,” Rose told her. As tradition goes, the two will listen to music in the operating room, usually jazz.

“Happy Birthday,” said Gigi back to Dr. Rose. Gelvosa celebrated her 46th birthday this week — a birthday she’s happy to see and grateful to have.

“The fact that she’s asking me to do it is a miracle. It shows her remote memory is intact,” said Rose.

“It’s a privilege they could work on me. I know how they work, and I’ve seen their work and that the Lord used them to do what they know on me. I’m glad they have it for others in Central Texas,” explained Gigi.

Listening to Happy Birthday never sounded sweeter.

“It’s another year to my life and I’m thankful I’m here and can listen to it, talk and understand what it is,” Gigi said.

Ziu has performed one other surgery with the BrainPath tool since Gigi’s. He says he’s grateful to have access to the equipment and hopes to continue to use it on those who need it.