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With the many advances in care and treatments, today’s patients have more and more reasons to expect the best outcomes. Here are the incredible stories of our patients and their journeys. Click on a thumbnail and scroll down to view each story.

  • Faith, Family & Healing: A Father’s Miraculous Recovery
  • Rock Steady
  • Neck Pain Can Be A Symptom of Stroke
  • McLeod ER Acted FAST to Reverse My Stroke
  • Paying Attention To Stroke Symptoms
  • Going With The Flow
  • Unraveling the Mystery
  • Meet the New Physicians Providing Neurology Care
  • A Stroke Wake-up Call
  • Building on Excellence the Neuroscience Program at McLeod
  • Joseph Longo
  • Taking Stroke Care to the Next Level
  • A Wake-up Call to Live For Today
  • Two Hospitals partner in Stroke Prevention
  • Where the Road Leads
  • Walking the Right Path Together
  • TCAR A Big Name in Stroke Care
  • Randy Rouse
    Picture Perfect Recovery

Faith, Family & Healing: A Father’s Miraculous Recovery

By Leslie A. Mikell

Lake City native Jimmy Bizzle, Jr., has been a truck driver for more than 30 years. His two daughters, Shalonda Cooper-Singletary and Tashauna Leggette, often checked in with him by phone once he completed his routes. One day in June 2021, when he was expected home after a route from North Carolina, Jimmy did not answer the phone. His daughters began to worry, so they decided to check the truck terminal in Lake City where he usually parked.

When she arrived, his daughter Tashauna saw his truck parked at the terminal. She opened the door of the cab and found Jimmy slumped over, almost unresponsive. 

Tashauna called Shalonda and knowing he needed care immediately, they rushed him to the Emergency Department at McLeod Regional Medical Center, where staff ran tests to determine if he had suffered a stroke. 

“Thankfully, the tests revealed that he did not have a stroke, but there was fluid on the right side of his brain, which turned out to be a brain bleed,” adds Shalonda.

The next morning, Dr. Andrew Rhea, a Neurosurgeon with Florence Neurosurgery and Spine at McLeod Health, performed emergency surgery to repair the brain bleed. Jimmy remained in the hospital to recover from the procedure, and after a few days, he experienced more swelling on the brain.

He would need an additional surgery from Dr. Rhea to reduce the swelling.

At this point, having underwent two major brain surgeries, doctors recommended Jimmy be sedated in a medically-induced coma to help his body recover.

Prolonged ventilation requires a tracheostomy (breathing tube) and gastrostomy (feeding tube). Dr. Johnson Walker, a Trauma Surgeon at McLeod Regional Medical Center, performed these procedures for Jimmy, who was then transferred to a long-term care facility where he remained intubated and ventilated while in the coma.

“Seeing him in a coma for so long was extremely difficult for our family. On Father’s Day, I remember asking God for one thing only – that my father would wake from his coma,” recalls Shalonda.

After nearly six weeks in a coma, his daughters’ prayers were answered, and Jimmy opened his eyes.

Unfortunately, during this time, Jimmy had developed a severe bedsore wound, also known as a pressure ulcer. He was referred back to Dr. Walker for treatment.

“Jimmy’s wound was so severe that it was life-threatening by the time I saw him again,” recalls Dr. Walker.

He performed debridement of the wound to remove the infected and damaged tissue. As a result of the wound’s size, Jimmy would need a colostomy bag to help keep it clean. Prior to his brain bleed, Jimmy walked two to three miles each day. After such an extended time in a coma, he became very weak and was essentially bedbound. Jimmy had to re-learn how to do everything again, from standing up, to caring for himself, to eating and walking.

Thanks to the support of his therapists, the dedication of his family, as well as his own strength and determination, Jimmy progressed from a wheelchair to a walker, to being able to walk unassisted again. 

“Number one, I thank God, but I also thank the nurses, my daughters, and their mom, Ruby Cooper, for my recovery,” says Jimmy.

“I truly believe Jimmy is alive today because of his daughters and their commitment to his healing,” Dr. Walker adds.

“Despite the many obstacles in his recovery, we kept the faith because we are a praying family,” says Shalonda.

“I told Jimmy’s family all along that he would likely not survive – and each time, he proved me wrong. I told them he would never be healthy enough to have his colostomy reversed – and he kept getting stronger and healthier. He even returned to walking several miles per day.”

Eventually, Jimmy made so much headway in his recovery that in April 2023, Dr. Walker agreed to reverse his colostomy.

After so much time spent at McLeod recovering from his different procedures, Jimmy and Dr. Walker formed a bond.

“McLeod is an excellent hospital, and Dr. Walker and I became good friends. He, the nurses, technicians, and everyone at McLeod treated me well and truly saved my life,” Jimmy adds.

Now, Jimmy enjoys walking several miles each day around his neighborhood in Lake City.