By J.B. Hunt

The Dore family got quite a shock when Philip collapsed at his 69th birthday dinner.

No one knew that he had an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Enjoying a relaxing meal with his family in May, Philip was fortunate that an ambulance was two minutes away. The well-trained responders knew immediately that he had an AAA, and he was immediately airlifted to a hospital with experienced specialists. Thinking that the end was quickly approaching, Philip decided to tell his love ones how much they mean to him. “He said his goodbyes to his wife,” his sister said.

 The doctor explained how difficult the surgery would be for a 7 centimeter-sized “balloon” in his belly. The largest blood vessel in his body could cause him to bleed to death, as it does in the majority of people who have this sudden rupture. Surgery to fix the aneurysm can be done when it is 5 centimeters or larger.

Philip recovered and is doing well, but that is not the end of the story.

His sister Deborah came to an AAAneurysm Outreach screening, and brought the family. “I think the biggest thing is the predisposing life factors that lead up to an aneurysm and the fact that when this happened my brother survived. I was in such shock,” she said. “His doctor told him that all of his siblings and their children need to be screened. That they have a 30% higher risk.” In this family with 11 siblings, that was important information to share. “It really opened my eyes to the genetics of it. I didn’t know that there was a genetic factor behind it. And so, I’m feeling so much better because all I’ve ever heard was that people just drop dead from it and there’s no way to diagnose it. It’s not a prescreening test that’s part of your physical. So, I was grateful to hear about this screening and tell the rest of the family and on and on,” stated Deborah. 

Philip’s son, Phil, expressed his gratitude that his father’s outcome did not end in tragedy. “He was one of the lucky few who actually was able to live through it.  So, because of the predisposed genetic component that is associated with this, we’re here at the screening. My Aunt Deborah found out about this great program and called up for us all to come in and get screened.” According to Phil, the latest research conducted by AAAneurysm is and outstanding accomplishment in the medical world. “I’m happy to say that everything looks great for me and it’s one less thing that I have to worry about, at least for the time being,” he said. “I’m grateful that there’s more research being done on this, and I’m sure that that research led to saving my father’s life when he had the rupture.“

Philip’s sister, Celia, also got screened and received a good report. “We’ll spread the word about AAA risk factors and screenings.” This family stands in agreement that they will continue to educate others about how these screenings changed their lives for the better. According to Philip, saving lives and preventing this kind of health emergency in other families is now a part of their conversations “with anyone within earshot.”