Storm chaser suffers stroke, returns to chasing storms 4 months after life-saving surgery

Stacey Sager Image
Thursday, December 8, 2022
Queens man back to chasing storms 4 months after stroke
Scott McPartland was inside his Rego Park house when he felt a sudden numbness that caused him to fall to the floor. Stacey Sager has the story.

NEW HYDE PARK, New York (WABC) -- Storm chasers are used to living a life of danger and adventure, but one local weather enthusiast survived a life-threatening challenge right in his own home.

Scott McPartland was inside his Rego Park house in May when he felt a sudden numbness that caused him to fall to the floor. At first he thought he was having an anxiety attack.

"I had never been that scared in my life, and then I couldn't even articulate it by telling anybody that I was scared because I couldn't speak," he said Thursday.

He remained on the ground for 23 seconds before he was able to call his wife, who quickly called for emergency help.

McPartland's indoor security camera captured the whole scene. Within 15 minutes, the security camera shows him receiving medical care.

He was rushed to Long Island Jewish Forest Hills Hospital where he was treated with a clot-busting drug called tPA. When tPA is administered within the first hour of a stroke, the medicine has the potential to save vital brain cells and reduce the chance of disability.

However, questions remained on the underlying cause for the stroke in the seemingly health 49-year-old.

Tests found that McPartland had a blockage of a major blood vessel in the brain that required microsurgical removal.

McPartland was transferred to North Shore University Hospital's stroke center to undergo the procedure after a few more routine pre-operation tests were run.

Those tests revealed that McPartland also had a PFO, a hole in the heart where the right and left chamber meet that typically closes after birth.

McPartland's did not, which may have led to a clot passing through his heart and into his brain which doctors believe was the probable cause of the stroke.

"It may sound alarming but 1 in 4 normal people walking on the street, statistically may have this condition, the PFO," said Dr. Avneet Singh, a cardiologist at Northwell Health.

The storm chaser received a minimally invasive heart surgery to close the PFO back in August and was released from the hospital on the same day.

He said in many ways it was comforting to find the reason for the stroke.

McPartland's recovery was so complete he celebrated his 50th birthday by storm chasing Hurricane Ian in Florida on September 28.

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