Robert Doherty: Ruptured AAA
Twelve years ago, Robert Doherty, a 71-year-old retired insurance company representativbe, woke up in the middle of the night with "unbelievable pain in his right hip." At his local community hospital emergency department, physicians discovered that he had no blood pressure at all due to a ruptured AAA (Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm). He was rushed into surgery.
"The surgeon thought my condition was so bad, that I would never make it out alive, but I proved him wrong." Mr. Doherty was in a coma for two weeks after his surgery and although the procedure was a complicated one, it was successful.
"When I finally woke up, my surgeon walked into the room and had asked if I remembered hearing anything. I said no. He said, I didn't think you would make it. Afterwards he told me I had ten years and exactly ten years later, at around 2:30 a.m. in the middle of the night, I woke up with pain in my abdomen. I thought to myself, here we go again."
A long wait
Mr. Doherty was once again taken in an ambulance to a large Boston academic medical center where he waited 36 hours in the waiting room. "I was in a lot of pain. I couldn't believe I had to wait that long in an emergency room."
Fortunately for Mr. Doherty, the pain he experienced had nothing to do with his aneurysm. However, doctors discovered that he had another aneurysm, in his abdomen, above the previous repair affecting the part of the aorta that supplies blood to his internal organs.
Robert's PCP referred him to a vascular surgeon to assess the new aneurysm. Upon meeting the surgeon, however, Robert did not feel it was the right fit. "It's very important to find a doctor that fits your needs and style." After expressing his concerns to his PCP, Mr. Doherty was referred once again for a second opinion to the CardioVascular Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
"As soon as he walked into the exam room, I knew this guy was good," says Robert. "He was brief and to the point. He asked us questions, examined all my reports, and came up with a plan of action. "I think his confidence and bedside manner made us feel comfortable with him."
Difficult procedure goes beautifully
The procedure involved a replacement of the upper abdominal aorta with a re-implantation of arteries that supply blood to his stomach, liver, spleen, intestines, and kidneys. "It was a difficult procedure, but it went beautifully," Robert recalls.
Robert is extremely satisfied with his surgery and his experience at the CVI. "The nurses at the hospital, the entire staff was so keen on making us comfortable, and I'm very grateful to my surgeon and my family for helping me get through this time. I couldn't have done it without any of them."