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George Hoggard knows a thing or two about the importance of a rapid response. A former firefighter, the 78-year-old Titusville, Florida, resident spent the better part of his 42-year career teaching astronauts at the Kennedy Space Center how to escape to safety in the event of an emergency on the launch pad. He also was a member of the rescue team that would respond if something went wrong with a space shuttle mission. So when his right eye suddenly began looking left while watching TV on a Sunday evening in April 2016, George knew something was amiss. When he began feeling nauseated, he told his wife, Rita, he needed to get to the hospital.
When Randy Marlow checked into Mayo Clinic Hospital's Saint Marys Campus, he knew his hospital stay would be lengthy. He just wasn’t expecting it to last one year, seven months and 21 days. As someone who needed dual heart and liver transplants, Randy knew the probability of two suitable donor organs becoming available at the same time was small. Moreover, his rare blood type, coupled with a buildup of antibodies from multiple blood transfusions related to prior heart surgeries, meant he would be incompatible with all but 10 to 20 percent of organ donors, according to his physicians. So Randy, an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed snowmobiling back home in the Colorado Rockies, riding his ATV, and camping, shifted his perspective from action to endurance. Patience became the operative word. "You have to take it day by day and wait for that right day, for the miracle," Randy says.
For 10 years, Jim Davis had a rapid heartbeat. He was otherwise healthy, though, so Jim wasn't particularly worried about it. He blamed the quick heart rate on his morning coffee. In time, however, the condition began to affect his daily life. Medication didn't seem to help. When Jim sought care at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, his doctor discovered an underlying heart disorder that had gone undiagnosed. Doctors were able to address his heart problems with a procedure called cardiac catheter ablation. Today Jim's heart is still in rhythm. The rest of his life picked up the beat.
Vivian Tsai remembers the last words her father said to her: "See a doctor." He recognized her symptoms. For years, puzzling symptoms and a troubling medical condition had stalked their family. Growing up in Taiwan, Vivian was athletic and seemed to be healthy. However, she began to lose strength in her early 30s and went to the doctor with her father, Paul. Vivian was told she had a heart condition. "But no one really explained the problem to me," she says. At first, Vivian was able to dismiss the symptoms. She even competed in a triathlon at age 40. But as she watched another member of her family struggle with symptoms she recognized in herself, her own condition became harder to ignore. Over time, Vivian's symptoms had taken hold of her life, affecting her daily activities. She was not able to talk for more than 30 seconds without losing breath. While eating dinner, Vivian would often have to lie down for half an hour before returning to her meal because she would become so tired and lightheaded. Vivian's fear of having arrhythmia attacks also hindered her social life. "I was afraid to go out on my own even to take a simple walk in the park," she says. "I didn't dare do that by myself."
When David R. Daugherty, M.D., was growing up in Rochester, he walked to Central Junior High School with his father, Guy Daugherty, M.D., a Mayo Clinic cardiologist. "Since our school was on dad’s way to the clinic, he made a tradition of walking with each of us kids when we reached junior high age," says Dr. Daugherty, when went on to join Mayo Clinic himself, as a psychiatrist. "We checked our progress by the bells in the Plummer Building. Hearing the chimes helped us get to school on time." That youthful memory led to an idea: Could the carillon have a set of chimes that are unique to Mayo Clinic?
This story originally appeared on the In the Loop blog. ___________________ It was the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and despite having house guests, Sherry Pinkstaff, Ph.D., awoke at ...
Deciding to undergo a surgery to remove your colon is not a decision to be taken lightly, but it was one that Luis Coriano faced earlier this year. And he and his family wanted to make sure they made the right call. Luis is affected by a rare genetic disorder called familial adenomatous polyposis that causes thousands of polyps to grow in the colon and ultimately leads to cancer. He knew that a prophylactic surgery to remove the diseased organ was the only way to prevent cancer from ravaging his body. As daunting as the surgery was, however, more worrisome to Luis, was what came after the surgery. Namely, living with a stoma and an ostomy bag.
Jim Biles, M.D., understands cancer treatment. A urologist who specializes in cancer surgery, he has spent his career focused on helping people receive the cancer care they need. So at age 72, when Dr. Biles received his own diagnosis of an aggressive type of cancer, he knew how critical it would be to get treatment from someone with experience and expertise. "When I found out I had a bone tumor, I started hunting around to see who could do the surgery. It turned out that there are very few people in the world I would trust with it," he says. "Not many do it, and even fewer have the experience that Dr. Sim does. He is the kingpin." Dr. Sim is Franklin Sim, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at Mayo Clinic's Rochester, Minnesota, campus. After a consultation with Dr. Sim, Jim decided to go through with a complex surgery at Mayo to treat his cancer. "Being a doctor, I was pretty picky about all the details being well managed," he says. "It was exceptional. I really couldn't have had a better experience."
In the fall of 2014, Gary Sorcic was desperate. Severe, unrelenting pain in his legs had tormented him for 10 years. He was ready to take extreme measures. "I told my doctor that if he had to cut my spinal cord and put me in a wheelchair to get rid of the pain, that's what I would do," Gary says. Fortunately, that was not necessary. Instead, Gary found and enrolled in a clinical research trial at Mayo Clinic studying the effectiveness of a new technology to relieve nerve pain such as his. It made a tremendous difference. "I never imagined my legs feeling this good again," he says. "The study was a godsend for me."