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Albany Med a Lifesaver for a Well-Known College President

R. Mark Sullivan, EdD, the longtime president of The College of Saint Rose and one of the Capital Region’s most respected leaders, credits Albany Med’s stroke team for enabling him to continue his work to train the next generation of academic leaders — and for saving his life.

Now director of the Sullivan Institute for Higher Education Leadership at Saint Rose, Sullivan, was rushed to Albany Med’s emergency department in 2010 with a hemorrhagic stroke, a condition where a weakened blood vessel bursts and bleeds into the brain.

“Right before our eyes, he was getting clinically worse,” said Gary Bernardini, MD, PhD, professor of neurology and director of stroke and neurocritical care.

R. Mark Sullivan, EdD
R. Mark Sullivan, EdD, of the College of Saint Rose: “I am here today” because of Albany Med.
Dr. Bernardini talked to Dr. Sullivan’s wife, Kathleen, and got consent to administer a drug which is generally used to stop the bleeding in hemophilia, but which has been shown in studies to stop the bleeding in strokes from expanding. Dr. Bernardini said he prescribes the drug, called Recombinant Factor VIIa, only in very specific circumstances where a bleeding is occurring deep inside the brain and expansion could cause devastating effects.

“In the right patient,” he said, “it can have a significant benefit.”

Dr. Sullivan, then 64, proved to be one of those patients. Although he required therapy to regain use of his left side and to correct his gait, the effects of the stroke were relatively limited.

“Because of Dr. Bernardini’s skill and insight, I am here today,” Dr. Sullivan said.

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