It began with an odd feeling of something just not being quite right.

“I woke up and felt strange,” said Fred Azbell, program manager for Troy University Public Radio. “I got breakfast, went to the station and couldn’t think what to do next. I couldn’t make any kind of decision. It’s very unusual because my routine is pretty set.”

Thinking he was having a stroke, Fred’s boss drove him to the local emergency room in Troy. A CT scan showed the presence of a brain cyst, warranting an immediate referral to Dr. Nicholas Voss of the NeuroSpine Center at Southeast Alabama Medical Center.

“A colloid cyst was blocking the flow of cerebrospinal fluid through the brain,” said Dr. Voss. “He needed to be operated on.” 

Fred was brought to SAMC that night by ambulance and underwent surgery the following morning. The operation was a success but Fred’s confused state continued, as he developed hydrocephalus. A shunt was put in to relieve the pressure on Fred’s brain caused by a fluid buildup.

While Fred had a longer recovery time, there came a day when Dr. Voss said he heard his patient’s voice on the radio again. Fred was back on the air as the voice of local public radio. 

“I can’t say enough about Southeast Alabama Medical Center and Dr. Voss. I have no doubt that Dr. Voss and his team saved my life,” Fred said. 

The Medical Center is the only facility in the region which offers neurosurgery 24-7. At any time there is an accident involving a patient with a brain injury, doctors are available for immediate treatment.


Fred saw first-hand how important that is. 

“I knew the clock was ticking. SAMC is a first-rate facility and the staff was very helpful during my recovery periods. Dr. Voss explains things in a way most people can understand. He’s a very talented doctor, and what can you say about the guy who saved your life?”

Over a 12 month period, three doctors at NeuroSpine performed 818 brain and spinal surgeries.

The NeuroSpine Center provides comprehensive neurosurgery services for complex cases requiring advanced instrumentation, to new minimally invasive techniques for cervical and lumbar disc disease.

Doctors D. Bruce Woodham, MD, Nicholas F. Voss, MD, Christopher D. Hargett, DO, and Jonathan McNeal, DO treat various brain, spinal and peripheral nerve conditions and offer treatments such as craniotomy, shunts, stereotactic radiosurgery, artificial disc, spine fractures, nerve decompression, and spinal cord injuries.