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Robert Sangster
  • Hospital News

    Great Surgical Care Saved My Life

    July 21, 2014

    As an active, healthy twenty-seven-year old, the thought that I might suddenly die wasn’t exactly “top of mind” for me. So when I woke up with severe back pain one morning I thought my problem was just that, back pain.

    Quickly, though, the pain got so bad I could barely walk a block without having to sit down. The day after that I woke up with both legs completely swollen. I knew I needed help but I had only moved here recently, so I got to my computer and Googled “Brooklyn Emergency Room”.  Fortunately, The Brooklyn Hospital Center came up on the first page.

    The caregivers in the hospital’s ER were both professional and compassionate. They gave me pain medication and constantly checked with me to make sure the pain had gone down.

    The doctors, nurses and radiology technicians—and later the inpatient rehabilitation specialists—were also excellent. A quick and efficient team, they discovered I had a massive blood clot in my vena cava, a large vein in the belly that connects directly to the heart and lungs. 

    I could have easily died or suffered permanent leg damage, but Dr. Peter Pappas, a vasculary surgeon and the hospital’s Chair of Surgery, made sure all of the right steps were taken. He treated me with a clot-busting device and clot-melting medications, and then repaired the damaged veins by placing specialized stents in a complicated surgical procedure.

    Dr. Pappas and his colleagues also figured out why I got this blood clot to begin with. We discovered I have a rare genetic disorder that causes blood clots, but now that I know this I can take the medications I need to stay healthy. I’ll always be grateful to Dr. Pappas, my nurses and the entire ED team for helping me when I needed it the most.