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Kornhauser Health Sciences Library

Hazeem Jabbal: The Case


The Case


Setting: Outpatient family medicine practice

Chief Concern: Hoarse voice and trouble eating.


Hazeem Jabbal is a 47-year-old construction worker who presents complaining of hoarse voice and trouble eating.

He reports that his symptoms began suddenly 5 days ago while at work.  He remembers moving bags of cement from the floor to a shelf above his head when he had experienced sudden and severe pain in his left jaw that went into his teeth.   The pain then spread to his left ear and head.   He felt dizzy and unsteady.  His vision was also blurry.

He sat down and called his wife to come get him because he wasn’t sure if he could drive home. His wife arrived 20 minutes later. By then he wasn’t dizzy anymore but the left jaw pain and headache persisted.

Later that night, he awoke from sleep at 3 am with a severe left-sided headache, as well as pain in the back of his neck.

The following day he was still having symptoms so he stayed home from work.  His headache gradually faded over that day.

That evening at dinner his wife noticed that his voice was hoarse.  He felt like his tongue was swollen.  He remembers choking several times while trying to eat dinner with his family.

He has resumed working for the past couple days. His wife was concerned that his symptoms are persisting and insisted that he come to the doctor.

PMHx: Otherwise healthy

Medications: None


His father suffered a stroke in Iran that caused right hemiplegia affecting his face and arm and made him have difficulty speaking.

His mother and sisters are all well and have no chronic medical problems.

His children are healthy.


He has been married to his wife for 20 years and they have 3 teenage daughters.  He works as a construction foreman. No smoking or alcohol use.  He is the sole provider for his family.  He has health insurance through his work.

He fearfully asks “Doctor, do you feel like I could be having a stroke like my father?”


Test Result
T 98.1
HR 79
BP 158/98
RR 12
SpO2 99%
BMI 24

Gen: Well nourished, muscular build


Eyes as shown below.  Pupils constrict with both direct and indirect light but the left appears smaller than the right. Fundi are normal with sharp optic disks.  The left side of face appears more ruddy than the right and while the right side is perspiring, the left side is not.  Gag reflex is decreased on the left and the uvula pulls to the right when saying “aaaaah.” His tongue deviates to the left when protruded. Left neck is tender to palpation. No carotid bruits.

CV: Regular rate and rhythm, no murmurs. Pulses are 2+ and equal in both upper extremities.

Pulm: Clear to auscultation in all lung fields.

Abd: Soft, nontender, no organomegaly, normal bowel sounds

LN: no enlarged nodes in the cervical, axillary, or inguinal regions

Skin: no bruising or erythema, no skin breakdown


Sensation (fine touch, pain, temperature, and proprioception) preserved over all areas of face and body. Manual muscle testing demonstrates 4/5 strength with head rotation to the left and shoulder shrug on the left side.  All other movements 5/5.  Balance and coordination are largely intact. Hearing is normal to finger rub bilaterally.

The family medicine physician explains to Mr. Jabbal that she feels he needs to be seen in the ER for more testing.  She calls the ER to communicate with the attending about her concerns for Mr. Jabbal.

Mr. Jabbal is seen in the ER, where his exam is unchanged.  The ER physician wants to rule down a stroke and orders a STAT CT head without contrast, which is seen below and interpreted as normal:

Stat CT Head without contrast/Normal


A CT angiogram is then ordered and is below.  The radiologist marks the abnormalities with arrows.  

CT Angiogram_Abnormalities marked with arrows

Mr. Jabbal is admitted to the hospital for monitoring and conservative management of the dissection.  Neurology, interventional radiology and speech and language pathology were all consulted.  The speech-language pathologist recommends using a chin tuck and head rotation to help combat dysphagia. After a couple days in the hospital, he is discharged home with instructions to follow up with his primary care physician and neurologist as an outpatient.

A week later, Mr. Jabbal is seen by his family medicine physician in follow up for his recent symptoms and hospitalization.  He feels like he has only improved minimally since his symptoms began about 10 days ago. 

He has several questions for his physician.

He asks if what he experienced is similar to the stroke that caused his father to have right-sided weakness.

He wants to know what kind of recovery and time course he should expect.

Since his injury began on the job, he also asks the primary care physician if she would fill out his worker’s compensation paperwork so that he can file a claim with his employer. 

The form has many questions, including his diagnosis, date of injury, his impairments and what duties he could still perform, the level of disability, and if he is permanently disabled. 

He is scared to perform strenuous activity now and yet he needs to support his family.   He couldn’t be seen by the neurologist for two more months.

Clinical Librarian

Ansley Stuart's picture
Ansley Stuart
Health Science Campus
Kornhauser Library, Rm 204

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