Patient Thanks Doctor for Saving His Life

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- A motorcyclist from Topeka today got to say thank you to the doctor at the University of Kansas hospital who saved his life. Greg King says he lives by the motto: No pain, no gain. When he hit a deer while riding his motorcycle earlier this summer, it wasn't the first time.

But if it wasn't for a new medical device just approved last year, he might not be alive today to tell about the second crash. Many people like seeing deer out in the wild. But when a buck crosses the roadway, it poses a danger that can cause traumatic injuries to drivers.

"I remember seeing the deer running by me about 5 feet," King said. "He was going right with me. I was going about 45-50 miles an hour."

King suffered traumatic brain injuries when he crashed into a deer while riding his motorcycle without a helmet. The impact created a aneurysm in the main artery supplying blood to his brain. Repairing this condition through traditional surgery wasn't possible because of a lack of blood to the damaged part of king's brain.

"To be honest any way that you fix this is risky," said Dr. Koji Ebersole, a neurosurgeon at the University of Kansas Hospital. "Because it's high risk problem. High risk problems have high risk solutions."

Dr. Ebersole had recently been certified to use a new device called the pipeline. It was designed to treat brain aneurysms but had only recently been tried to help trauma victims. Dr. Ebersole believed the new device might be the only way to save King's life.

"There's three men I look up to: God, my dad and now this doctor because literally he saved my dad's life," said Jessica Westfall, King's daughter.

Now, three weeks after being released from the hospital, Dr. Ebersole is overcome with emotion when he sees Greg King. King is well on his way to recovery and he brings the doctor some whiskey as a token of thanks. But he also says he's eager to jump back on his motorcycle again, without a helmet.

The University of Kansas Hospital is the only medical center in our region where King could have received the pipeline device. His family is planning a softball tournament fundraiser later this month to help pay for his medical expenses.

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