My name is Scott Mendelson, I'm assistant professor of neurology here at the University of Chicago, which specializes in the care of stroke patients. Stroke is a disease that causes disability primarily. In addition to mortality, more often than not, patients are left with some impairment. And I feel like it's really my job, then, to find out what the goals of life for that patient are with their circles of care, in terms of the fact that oftentimes that impairment will impact the way they go through life. And so oftentimes my job is to figure out what is a good quality of life for my patients. And I think that begins at the very moment when they're having their stroke.
Some patients are eligible for acute therapies, and oftentimes there are risks with those therapies. And having honest conversations with patients and their family members about the benefits and the risks really drives my care in that moment and throughout our relationship. I've always wanted to be a doctor, for as long as I can remember.
My father, who's a dentist, when he was going through his training, he had to take a lot of the first year medical classes with medical students. And so he took human anatomy, and so he had his original Grant's Atlas of Human Anatomy that he saved from his dental school training in our house. My earliest memories are of leafing through that book and literally spending hours just marveling at the pages, because this was all hand-drawn at the time. These detailed drawings of the human anatomy just fascinated me, just the level of intricacies and the details and their complexity. And honestly, that planted the seed for me in wanting to become a physician, and I sort of carried that goal throughout my education.
There's a lot that I sort of enjoy and take out of my job. One of the most rewarding things is seeing a patient in clinic, three months, six months, even a year out after their hospitalization. And oftentimes I meet my patients at some of their hardest moments. They've had a stroke, they've just had a stroke, we're providing care. Oftentimes the disability that comes along with stroke is the worst upfront. But after several weeks and months in certain cases of rigorous rehab by that patient, a lot of hard work by that patient, I get to see them back in clinic in six months.
And for some patients, their deficits have completely resolved. They are right back to the baseline. They're back in life and they're enjoying their lives just as they were prior to their hospitalization, and that's the best. Knowing that we were able to intervene in that patient's lives at a moment where they needed it, and have such a good outcome. It makes my day.
Scott Mendelson, PhD, MD, is an expert stroke neurologist who diagnoses and treats a wide range of neurological conditions. Dr. Mendelson’s practice primarily focuses on helping patients suffering from cardioembolic strokes, cryptogenic strokes, cerebral venous sinus thrombosis and arterial dissections.
Along with his dedication to his clinical pursuits, Dr. Mendelson is an avid researcher who is developing strategies to reduce delay in emergency room care and interhospital transfers of stroke patients. He is also investigating racial disparities in providing informed consent for tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), a medicine to treat acute ischemic stroke.
Dr. Mendelson’s health services research as been published in several respected, peer-reviewed journals, including Neurology, Stroke, Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases, and Neurology Clinical Practice.
- Psychiatry and Neurology
- University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine
- University of Chicago Medicine
- University of Chicago Medicine
- Northwestern Medicine
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