For many years, Bob Aronson saw the inner workings of Mayo Clinic's business side through his role as a communication consultant. But in August 2007, he saw a different side of Mayo Clinic when he underwent a heart transplant in Florida. Bob's patient experience (and his experience as a communicator) led him to start a Facebook group called "Organ Transplant Initiative" as a "support group" and a "news and information clearing house" for organ donation (and which has now grown to almost 4,000 members.) Then there's his blog, "Bob's Newheart" (get it?), on which he's authored more than 230 posts on everything from his own transplant experience to the importance of organ donation and healthy living.
One of his latest entries, posted on the Facebook group's page last week, tells yet another tale of how Bob's care team at Mayo helped "save his life" by not allowing "so much as a hiccup" to interfere with his care. Scheduled for a heart catheter-slash-biopsy as part of his seven-year transplant follow-up, Bob was lying on his back waiting for a catheter to be inserted, when he says a sudden bout of acid reflux overtook him. "It was so sudden and so bad that I involuntarily sat up, gagging and having great difficulty breathing," he writes.
His care team quickly got the acid reflux under control, but Bob says the threat of its return was enough to put an end to plans for that specific procedure … but not his treatment that day. "Without missing a beat," he writes, "the transplant cardiologist who was performing it called in another Mayo expert who could do a similar procedure by going into the radial artery in my right wrist, which would allow me to have my head and upper torso elevated to prevent another reflux attack."
It was a "seamless change in tactics" that Bob says happened without the slightest noticeable hitch. "The quickness of response, the compassion, the expertise of the physicians and staff was absolutely amazing," he writes. There was no "frenzy," he says, and no panic. "Just professional, positive action in an unexpected crisis." It all added up to what Bob calls another "amazing day" at Mayo Clinic and one that he says has left him further indebted to his care team. "I am only here because of them," he writes. "Thank you, Mayo ... you did it again."
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