Procedure used on former President Carter saves lives in SWFL

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Former President Jimmy Carter is recovering right now after a procedure to relieve pressure on his brain.

Carter is 95-years-old but is said to be recovering without complications following the surgery Tuesday morning.

We learned what he had done is nothing new to Southwest Florida, and has already saved on WINK News viewer’s father.

“I fell down and hit my forehead on a sharp edge and I had to go to the hospital,” said Carter speaking about a fall he took last month during an event. “They took 14 stitches in my forehead and my eyes black as your nose.”

Doctors say that fall, combined with another earlier this year, are what landed him at Emory University Hospital.

Lynn Williams says her father went through the same thing. She wrote into us via the WINK News Facebook page.

“He started to get confused, and we realized he had a subdermal brain bleed,” said Williams. That’s where blood and fluid build up on the brain, leading to the procedure that likely saved her father’s life, just as it likely did Carter’s.

“I think it’s amazing that they’re actually able to do this,” said Williams.

Here’s how it works: Imagine your skull as a cup. Once that cup begins to fill with blood and fluid, it builds up pressure all over your brain, which is unhealthy. Once the pressure gets too high, doctors drill a hole through the skull to help relieve some of the pressure.

“The kind of population we have, we do it all the time,” said Dr. Edison Valle, a neurosurgeon with NCH in Naples.

He says that simple procedure is common in SWFL’s older population. But be warned…”It has the risk of infection, bleeding and stroke,” said Valle, and doesn’t always solve the problem if the bleeding comes back.

For Williams’ father, though, life has gotten a lot better.

“He became himself again,” she said.

And she hopes the same for President Carter, who seemed at peace before even getting to the hospital.

“I didn’t ask God to let me live, but I asked God to give me the proper attitude towards death,” he said.

At this point, it’s unclear when Carter will be released from the hospital, but Valle says patients are typically kept two to three days to rest after the surgery.

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