Kirk Douglas thrived after surviving his greatest challenges: two strokes. The man wielded a sword in Spartacus, he handled a few weapons in Gunfight at the OK Corral, was a Colonel in the Stanley Kubrick classic Paths of Glory and battled a huge homicidal robot in the sci-fi thriller Saturn-3. The only thing he couldn’t beat was having a stroke. In 1995, Kirk Douglas was spending a normal morning at his house. While he was getting a manicure at the request of his wife, he felt a sharp pain in his cheek. “I felt a peculiar sensation in my right cheek. It was as if a pointed object had drawn a line from my temple, made a half circle on my cheek, and stopped. I felt no pain, but when I tried to describe it – I couldn’t talk (Douglas 2).” Kirk’s friends and family rushed him to the hospital. While there, a doctor asked him to smile and immediately the doctor could see a major droop in his lip; after numerous x-rays and tests the doctor’s concluded that Kirk Douglas did in fact have a stroke. Douglas was no stranger to medical issues. In 1986, Douglas became dizzy in a restaurant and fell to the floor. A doctor who had been dining nearby went examined him and diagnosed Douglas’ heart attack. Douglas didn’t believe the doctor and told his wife to take him home. Douglas’ wife ignored him and rushed him to Cedars-Sinai hospital where it was confirmed: Kirk Douglas had suffered a heart attack. If Douglas went home that night doctors said that he would have likely died. That night a pacemaker was inserted into Douglas’s chest and his health was monitored. Living with stroke, caused Kirk Douglas to suffer severe depression. At a low point, Douglas found the gun that he used in Gunfight at the OK Corral, loaded it with real bullets and put it in his mouth. He remembered all the times he had with his friends including Burt Lancaster who starred with Douglas in Gunfight at the OK Corral. Lancaster had suffered a stroke himself. After suffering a stroke, Lancaster was paralyzed in a wheel chair and became a recluse. He died shortly after his diagnosis. Douglas never said goodbye. With the gun still in his mouth, he took it out slowly and realized that there was so much more to do with the blessed life that he was given. He courageously regained to emotional strength to live his life. In 1991, Douglas suffered more injuries in a horrible helicopter crash which destroyed most of his back and killed two people. Kirk Douglas had to have major surgery to repair his back and was recovering slowly when he suffered his second stroke. Douglas again found strength to live on. Douglas’ strength came this time from his dogs. The dogs whined, barked and begged for Douglas to get out of his bed and to take them both for a walk: “I was stunned. It was an epiphany. My dogs, who are always there to help me, also needed help. People need help. And I lie in bed, accepting or ignoring the help they give me. I found the one thing that took me out of myself, out of my darkness: helping others. It gave me hope and courage. (Douglas 41) ” He went into his office and stared at the movie posters on the walls; he stared at the films with all the actors and actresses he worked with and 90% of them (at the time of the publication of the book 2002) were dead. The list is Hollywood royalty, Anthony Quinn, Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon, Burt Lancaster, James Mason, Paul Lucas, Peter Lorre, Lana Turner, Ava Gardner, Laurence Olivier, Charles Laughton, Stanley Kubrick and Carroll O’Connor. The man reflected on his movie posters with true pain of losing so many people that he loved. He lamented that on day somebody will see one of his movie posters and say: “-Oh, that’s Kirk Douglas – he’s dead.” Kirk Douglas has won an Oscar, has written over six books, and had a second bar mitzvah when he was in his eighties and is good spirits giving to charities all over the world. He has built playgrounds and soccer fields in Jerusalem and many research centers all over the planet. A stroke attacked this famous movie star and if happened to Kirk Douglas it could happen to any human being with a circulatory system. “We all have a handicap- big or small. But we must overcome our hardships to become better people. We must try, we must try. (Douglas 196)” You don’t have to be famous to thrive after suffering a stoke. Extra hardships and more severe brain injuries are often suffered by victims of stroke that do not get proper care. New York medical malpractice lawyers Cory Rosenbaum and Robert Fader are available to help ordinary people who were the victims of medical malpractice before and after suffering a stroke. References: Douglas, Kirk. (2002). My Stroke of Luck. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc.