Pat's Stroke Experience

Jun 6, 2019

Dr. Kastl cardiovascular patient


Pat Karthauser is an avid gardener, a well-known landscape garden designer and a world traveler. She moved to Hilton Head thirty years ago because she wanted to live in a place where she could design and garden for a longer season. Previously she lived in Wisconsin and was one of the original designers to develop prairie style and woodland gardens on larger properties including oriental gardens. Independence has always been very important to her. When she found out she had a blocked artery that could result in a stroke she turned to her friends and community to find someone with a stellar reputation to help her get better.

“I’ve always been very healthy. My work is physical and I generally live an active life. I was never sick,” says Pat. It came as a shock when she found out she had a high-grade carotid stenosis in the artery that supplies blood to the brain. “I’ve been so healthy my whole life that I wasn’t expecting to hear that I was high risk for a stroke,” she says.

Pat immediately starting asking friends for recommendations and David Kastl, M.D., cardiac surgeon at Hilton Head Hospital, kept coming up. “I have found many people who have had wonderful experiences with Dr. Kastl,” says Pat. “He has a fabulous reputation for his professionalism and great work.” She prepped for surgery the day of her first appointment. “I was so worried about having a stroke and losing my way of life,” she says. “I was scared to death of surgery before I met Dr. Kastl and his staff.”


Pat had never experienced a hospital before this and she didn’t know what to expect. “There is something special to be said about the women in Dr. Kastl’s office; Jean, Shannon and Faquita,” says Pat. “I was so frightened and apprehensive when I arrived and they were helpful, calm and took care of everything that needed attention. They came to see me in the hospital before my surgery which helped ease my fear.” She was also grateful to the nursing staff at Hilton Head Hospital for being so kind during her stay.  “Everyone I encountered was competent and they all made me feel comfortable.”

Since her surgery, Pat is back at home and in her garden. “When I found out about my illness, I was worried about losing my way of life and independence. I want to remain living on my own in my house,” she says. “Dr. Kastl extended my life and now I am able to enjoy my life the way I want with my dog in my garden.”

“We are very lucky to have a man of this ability on Hilton Head,” says Pat. “I would not be here today without Dr. Kastl.”