Richland Source: Mansfield Man Thankful After Life-Threatening Heart Condition
After being rushed to the OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital with what he thought were severe flu symptoms, Jeff Barrett was in for a shock when he found out he was suffering from an aortic dissection instead.
Jose Norberto, MD, a thoracic surgeon at Mansfield Hospital, quickly made the diagnosis with his team, confirming that Barrett had a tear in the inner layer of the large blood vessel branching off the heart, a condition that can cause death from bleeding and decreased heart function.
“Most people don’t even make it to the hospital. That’s how serious it is,” Dr. Norberto told Richland Source reporter Tierra Thomas. “It’s one of the most difficult and dangerous emergencies that we, as cardiologist surgeons, have to face once in a while.”
Barrett’s condition required a risky and complex operation, one that took a total of 10 hours to complete. During surgery, Dr. Norberto and his team had to stop Barrett’s circulation completely by lowering his temperature to 17 degrees Celsius in order to sew without the risk of blood getting in their line of vision.
“It’s basically as close to death as you can be without being dead,” Dr. Norberto said. “It’s such a dangerous condition in any patient.”
Fortunately, Barrett woke up a few days after the operation and has been recovering ever since. He’s back to doing what he loves, eating healthy and keeping his blood pressure under control.
Dr. Norberto credited the success of Barrett’s operation came from teamwork and efficiency at Mansfield Hospital.
“Being able to operate with a team that was just getting to know me, it was very reassuring, and that made me very pleased and very happy with the organization," he said.
As for Barrett himself, he remains indebted to the team that gave him the chance to live to see another day.
“It’s awesome; blessed,” he said. “Those people are my heroes. Every one of them.”
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Photo Courtesy: Robin Barrett