From Total Disbelief to a Remarkable Recovery
Mitch Slater knew something wasn’t right when his left side went completely numb and he broke into a profuse sweat one Sunday afternoon while watching football on TV. After all, he had always been physically active and in good health. In fact, he and his wife Ann were regulars at a spinning class and enjoyed long bike rides together.
Home alone, Mitch instinctually drove himself to the emergency room of a local hospital rather than call 9-1-1. To his surprise, he was diagnosed with a blood clot in his left brachial artery.
Mitch first received medication in an attempt to break up the clot, then underwent surgery four days later and was sent home to recover. Everything seemed fine until results of routine follow-up tests caused concern. Mitch was hospitalized for about a week for further evaluation.
That’s when Scottsdale Healthcare cardiovascular surgeon Michael Caskey, MD was called in for a second opinion.
Mitch was diagnosed with a serious cardiovascular condition called an aortic dissection—a condition in which the aorta, the major vessel coming out of the heart, splits into layers. In Mitch’s case, the dissection went all the way through to the blood vessels of his head and neck as well as to his left arm, requiring surgery on the arm.
It was apparent he would need a very major surgery—one best handled with the expertise and technology at Scottsdale Healthcare.
“To go from a state where you are feeling really terrific to a state where I’m being told that the surgery required will take me over a year to recover from—it was a very, very difficult thing for me to accept,” said Mitch.
Mitch’s wife learned all she could about her husband’s condition and his recommended surgery. After extensive discussions with Dr. Caskey, both Mitch and Ann established a level of understanding and trust which enabled them to move forward with an extremely intense surgery.
“In addition to having a consummate surgeon, with a surgery of this magnitude, you want a surgeon who is going to be there for you. You don’t want your surgeon to just do the surgery and leave. You want that person to be there for you, to explain things to you, to show up,” said Ann. “Dr. Caskey did all those things.”
According to Dr. Caskey, his patient has done very well. “Mitch has been extremely active and has made a recovery that is beyond belief. Today Mitch is out hiking and biking and he is doing fabulously,” he said.
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