What started as an infected tooth turned into something Thomas Roush never imagined.
Weeks later, the 75-year-old would receive life-saving treatment at Mercy Health – Springfield Regional Medical Center.
Back in January 2019, Thomas visited his cardiologist, Dr. Faiq Akhter, and asked about the heart risks involved in a simple dental procedure he had planned. While he was cleared for the procedure, Dr. Akhter realized Thomas’ general health risks due to the condition of his heart. He scheduled Thomas to have double-valve, open-heart surgery in February.
The surgery occurred with little complication, at first. Thomas was recovering well until he went into cardiac arrest on a Sunday morning. His lungs collapsed, his kidneys failed, and his heart stopped. Doctors all worked together to save him and, amazingly, Thomas was revived! It was then Thomas’ heart surgeon, Dr. Amit Aurora, began referring to him as “the miracle man.”
In the following week, Thomas began recognizing things and identifying people again. His therapy at the hospital started with an introduction to Annette, a physical therapy assistant.
“She would say, ‘We are going to get you out of that bed,’” says Thomas.
Annette began working with him every day doing small exercises. Coincidentally, she also had open heart surgery years prior and understood what he was going through. Thomas began growing in strength and walking. His overall health started improving as well.
“They told me, ‘You’ve got color now and you look like you feel good’ and I did,” says Thomas. “There’s a difference when your heart is working properly!”
Thomas is beyond grateful for the care he received at Mercy Health. He even went to visit his nurses in early May, bringing them candy as a thank you.
“They know what to do and they know how to do it. They saved my life,” he says.
Thomas and his wife, Sue, have been married for 51 years. They are now happy to be home and together with a renewed sense of life. Thomas is working outside in the yard again and might even start working on his golf short game soon.
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