Patient Told There Was “No Hope” Turns 90

Cleveland Clinic gives Emma a second chance

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Cleveland Clinic prides itself on having good outcomes with patients whom other medical centers might consider to sick or too old for certain procedures. Emma Neubauer is a perfect example.  She had a thoracic aneurysm a dangerous swelling of the portion of the aorta in her chest.  Her local hospital was discouraging.

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“The doctor said it would be a very hard operation for me  very hard on me because of my age so I backed out,” Mrs. Neubauer recalls.

Fortunately, her med-student granddaughter had other ideas. Monica Jacobus, who started her residency in general surgery in Chicago this month, and her father went online to look for someone to help.

Their search led them to cardiac surgeon Eric Roselli, MD, at Cleveland Clinic.  Dr. Roselli performed an aortic repair on Mrs. Neubauer on December 18, 2008.  How did it come out?

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Here is a letter Dr. Roselli recently received from Mrs. Neubauer’s daughter:

Dear Dr. Roselli:
Emma Neubauer, my mother, was 88 when you intervened surgically when her local doctors either declined or warned her off doing so.  She bounced back well from the open heart surgery you performed, and last week, 2 years later, celebrated her 90th birthday.  My mom is still living independently with no household help, driving, shopping, cooking and though she didn’t can vegetables this year, did work for her Church’s Christmas Cookie sale.  Her classmates at her Exercise Class surprised her by placing an ad in the local newspaper (The New Britain Herald)  (Connecticut)  She sent me the clipping and a note to pass on to you.  I’ve scanned it and sent it as an attachment.
 She’s able to travel.  Early in December my family flew into Bradley Airport, picked her up, and drove 3 hours to New York where she attended the graduation and festivities to celebrate her grandson’s graduation from college.  You’d met his sister Monica, then a 4th year medical student at St Louis University.  Monica is now finishing her second year of General Surgery Residency at the Metropolitan Group hospitals (Masonic/Lutheran/Mercy hospitals) in Chicago.
 I sing the praises of Cleveland Clinic whenever I have a chance, and with good reasons.  Two years ago, we’d been told repeatedly by her local hospitals that there was no hope and much to fear if open heart surgery were performed on her (large) dissecting aortic aneurysm.  You saw the bigger picture and got her admitted to Cleveland Clinic literally just in time, you saw that other than her (serious) mechanical issues, she had otherwise a strong constitution and had had, until a sudden decline, quite good health.  You didn’t shy away from performing surgery on an 88 year old simply because of age alone.  I wanted to let you know that your team’s actions enabled her to now, 2 years later, be doing well.
 Heidi Jacobus

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