Dave Reeger had been an ambulance driver for 10 years, so when he woke up one morning with a lump between his rib cage and his left hip, he knew enough about anatomy to be concerned. When he felt a pulse in that lump, he was alarmed.
Dave stopped by his general practitioner to show him and was sent directly to Verde Valley Medical Center. His doctor wanted to call an ambulance, but Dave insisted that he would drive himself while his doctor called ahead to alert the emergency room that he was on his way.
The moment he arrived, Dave found the ER was ready for him. Dr. Samuel Butman, a leading interventional cardiologist, Dr. John Schor, a renowned thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon, and a whole team of experts were waiting for him. A series of quick tests and examinations confirmed the problem: an abdominal aortic aneurysm - a top-10 killer of men more than 55 years old. About 30-50% of people who suffer a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm die before ever reaching a hospital.
While Dave made it to the hospital before the aneurysm ruptured, that wasn’t the end of his concerns. “Dr. Schor said it was the largest aneurysm he had ever seen,” remembers Dave. Because it could rupture at any time, he would need surgery immediately. No time to be moved to another hospital. Fortunately, the Heart & Vascular Center of Northern Arizona, a partnership of Verde Valley Medical Center and Flagstaff Medical Center, is home to world-class medical talent, specifically for needs like Dave’s. Despite the size of the aneurysm, Dr. Schor was able to repair it. And he was even able to do it with minimally invasive surgery.
Today, Dave is back home, playing golf and healthy as ever. He is still grateful to the doctors and staff at Verde Valley Medical Center. “They took such good care of me. It’s hard to believe how good they are,” says Dave. And he’s especially glad that, if he had to have an aneurism, he had it here where the doctors and staff of the Heart & Vascular Center of Northern Arizona were able to take care of him.