Siena College President Suffers Massive Stroke

Jul 26, 2019

Siena College says school President Edward Coughlin suffered a massive stroke during a scheduled surgery Tuesday. College spokesperson Lisa Witkowski says the surgery at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester was to repair a congenital heart defect. 

“He [Coughlin] has not yet regained consciousness and at this stage we are taking things hour by hour and day by day,” Witkowski said Friday afternoon.

Doctors at Strong Memorial say Coughlin is in a cardiac intensive care unit. Witkowski says a Siena College representative is in Rochester with Coughlin and his family.

"Br. Coughlin underwent surgery to repair an atrial septal defect (ASD)– a hole in the wall between the upper chambers of the heart that he has had since birth, but recently became a serious health concern," reads a statement from Strong Memorial doctors provided by Siena. "The surgery to repair the ASD went very well, but unfortunately there was an unrelated complication as the operation concluded. It was an aortic dissection, which is a tear on the inside wall of the artery that carries oxygen from the lower chambers of the heart to the rest of the body. This complication reduced blood flow to the brain and caused Br. Coughlin to suffer a stroke."

About 250 faculty, staff and students attended a prayer service at Siena’s Loundonville campus Friday morning.

In June, the 71-year-old Coughlin announced he planned to retire in August 2020. Siena named Vice President of Academic Affairs Margaret Madden acting president last month during Coughlin’s medical leave.