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Last Friday (August 25, 2017) around 2:00 am, our father Jerome (Pat's husband / Jerry), had a severe heart attack while at home in Minot. The heart attack was a non-typical one. It was caused when a blood clot that had formed in his heart was released. When this event happened, the clot essentially went backwards into his coronary arteries, breaking up and causing multiple blockages. The result was very severe.
On Saturday morning, after consulting with heart specialists in MN, it was determined that he needed to be transferred to Abbot Northwestern in Minneapolis for more extensive care. Jerome was able to speak at that time and insisted that is the only place he wanted to go. He had a valve replaced there in 2008.
He was flown out and arrived late Saturday afternoon. He has been seen by many doctors and groups of specialists since then. Each and every person at Abbott has been nothing short of amazing! It brings a profound sense of peace to our family to know he is receiving the best possible care. It was determined initially that the heart attack damaged 75% of his heart; that was changed to 10% a few days into the journey. Throughout the week, specialists filtered in and out and gave Jerry many tests, all with the goal of determining the best course of treatment.
The treatment best suited for his condition will be a LVAD do the pumping of the heart for him. The LVAD is a mechanical pumping device that will require open heart surgery to implant. It was also discovered that the valve he had repaired in 2008 might not be working properly. Fixing the valve and installing the LVAD will be done at the same time. The surgery was originally scheduled for Thursday morning, then pushed to Friday.
Very early Thursday morning, Jerry had emergency surgery after his heart rate was extremely elevated and unstable. The procedure reroutes blood from Jerry's heart to warm and oxygenate it outside the body. He came through the surgery with the best possible outcome; however, news of setbacks were discouraging. They thought Jerry would need another mechanical pump for the right side (RVAD) because the right side has been doing all of the work for the heart and the right side needs assistance. They also said the kidneys were suffering and dialysis would be needed. We were told that as soon as the numbers were where the doctors wanted, the surgery would happen. It was not going to be an emergency, but not planned either.
On Friday morning (September 1), surgery was scheduled for Saturday. The doctors said Jerry had some to a crossroads that if they waiting any longer, there would be more complications. The kidneys would need dialysis and were getting worse. By Friday afternoon, Jerry astonished doctors and they said they are so impressed with his progress that the surgery will not be Saturday and we are back to the plan of waiting and letting him heal some more.