Stroke: Patient Stories - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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Stroke: Patient Stories

Eric Weil's Story

Physician Learns Humbling Lessons From Stroke, Regains Function, Confidence, Career Aspirations

Eric Weil, M.D.

Eric Weil with Dr. Richard Harvey and occupational
therapist Meghan Buell from his care team.

Known as "Smiling Eric" when he was a child, Eric Weil, M.D., describes himself as an "eternal optimist" and "over-achiever" who is dedicated to helping others. He drew on that spirit and resolve during his remarkable recovery from a severe stroke, determined to use the experience to be a better pediatrician when he returns to his patients.

Weil, a pediatrician on staff at University of Chicago's Friend Family Health Center, suffered a massive stroke in October 2008 while on duty at the community health clinic on Chicago's Southwest Side. Only 30 years old, he had no idea he had a dangerous arteriovenous malformation (AVM), an abnormal tangle of blood vessels in his brain, until it ruptured.


Heather Kroupa's Story

Pregnant with her first child, Heather Kroupa, 30, had a serious postpartum stroke leaving her paralyzed and unable to speak. Watch how RIC's inpatient, DayRehab, and outpatient care helped Heather recover and reclaim her life as a mother.

John Murphy's Story

Up and Running Again

John Murphy ran a 5k race one year post-stroke

John Murphy ran a 5k race one year post-stroke
and raised over $11,000

John Murphy began his rehabilitation journey in 2005. John or "Johnny Go-Go" as he is called, got his nickname for good reason; while growing up in Massachusetts, he was the National High School Cross Country Champion; a record holder on the track team at Harvard University with a four minute mile; and in 1992, he finished 25th at the Chicago Marathon, the largest marathon in the United States.

In 2005, John returned to Chicago to run the challenging Chicago Marathon for the fifth time. During the 23rd mile of the 26.2 mile race, he began to feel dizzy and lost part of his vision. As a seasoned runner, he thought that these were signs of dehydration, but he proceeded to pick up his pace to finish the race in 03:06:07.

Later that night, while celebrating with family members at a local bowling alley, his hamstring severely cramped up. While on the ground stretching, John experienced numbness in one of his arms and was unable to get up. A bystander noticed this irregularity and called 911.

"I couldn't get up and couldn't move anything on the left side of my body," said John, "I remember doctors poking a pin into my foot to see if I could feel anything, but I couldn't. It was shocking."


Jordie Krimstein's Story

Painting a Portrait of Stroke Recovery

Jordie Krimstein's Patient Story

Jordie Krimstein was able to paint again after recovering from stroke at the Prime of Life Stroke Rehabilitation Program 
at RIC. See Jordie's paintings at

Jordan “Jordie” Krimstein couldn’t figure out how to put on his favorite white sweatshirt. He had done it hundreds of times before, but on this May morning in 2005 the recently retired 73-year-old creative advertising director was at a complete loss.           

Concerned, Krimstein and his wife visited a doctor who sent them immediately to a hospital near their north suburban Chicago home for a CAT scan of his brain. As Krimstein walked out of the dressing room after putting his clothes back on, he fell unconscious and collapsed into the arms of his wife and daughter.

When he awoke the next morning, Krimstein learned he had suffered stroke that resulted in weakness and partial paralysis on the left side of his body.


Katherine Brooks' Video

Katherine Brooks was an energetic wife and mother with a strong passion for fitness and physical activities before suffering a stroke leaving her with very little ability to speak and very limited ability to walk. Rehabilitation through RIC's Neuromechanics Laboratory helped Katherine fully recover from her stroke and regain full ability to walk and communicate with her family and friends and participate in her active lifestyle. Watch the video below.

Maria Diamond's Story

College Student, Age 22, Wheaton, IL

RIC patient Maria DiamondMaria was home from Notre Dame for winter break when she was struck with a pounding headache. She went to bed and awoke in the middle of the night in immense pain, falling out of bed with a thud. Her dad checked on her and it was soon determined that they needed help and she was taken by ambulance to the hospital.

Doctors discovered Maria had an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), or a tangle of blood vessels in her brain that caused a stroke. At 20, Maria underwent brain surgery to fix the damage and woke up unable to move, eat, or speak. Her parents consulted family members who were doctors, seeking advice on a location for Maria’s rehabilitation.


Alfred Hoffman's Story

Former US Ambassador to Portugal, Age 79, North Palm Beach, FL

RIC patient Alfred HoffmanAs the founder of Florida’s largest real estate development company and the appointed Ambassador to the Republic of Portugal by President Bush, Al Hoffman had always been great at managing an immense workload. So, when he underwent successful open-heart surgery in late 2012 and suffered a stroke just 10 days later, that sense of determination and perseverance that had defined his career would be a guiding force in his recovery.

Al’s stroke was on his right side, rendering his left side paralyzed.