“Taber’s Medical Dictionary. [G. aneurysma, a widening] arterial dilation
due to pressure of blood on weakened tissues, forming a sac containing
blood that is sometimes clotted”.
A while back I was diagnosed as having an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Went to see a vascular surgeon in Miami who after studying my case
declined to engage admitting that to deal with such a rather large
aneurysm was beyond his ken, it being 5.7 centimeters in diameter.
However, he informed me that there was a surgeon up in Boca Raton
who was breaking new ground on the subject and gave us this doctor’s
name. We made an appointment and with forlorn hope went up to Boca
The doctor immediately informed us of the risks of such a venture including
death, possible paralysis from the hips down for life or amputation of
limbs due to complications. I already was aware of inaction on my part.
If the aneurysm burst the result would be either a swift extremely painful
death or a slower inevitable death cushioned by morphine to ease the
pain. Considering the “Damocles Sword” I was living under I declared
that I was game. He immediately sent me to Boca Raton Regional
Hospital, nearby, where I had bloodwork done and a CT scan. Upon our
return to him he said he would perform the surgery, however there was
a caveat. There was a 20 page Agreement between myself and him and
the manufacturer of the stent before the undertaking could begin.
He outlined it briefly, then we were to take it home, study it thoroughly,
formulate any questions we might have and return and sign it in front of
his liaison after she had gone over it in detail. We did as instructed came
back and met with her, and after a thorough revue of the Agreement I
signed it. Evidently I was entering a five year study of the stent beginning
with it’s implantation and it’s efficacy from that point on.
The stent itself was a piece of work, unique, no other manufacture like it.
Made of polyester fabric with hairlike strands of nitinol[made mostly of
nickel and titanium] woven into it and strands of stainless steel for strength.
There were four stublike appendages jutting out of the lower half,
designed to interface with arteries leading from the aorta to the vital
organs. By the way, I was allowed to end the agreement at any time after
the operation without penalty.
The doctor chose to separate the operation into two phases in order to
avoid the prolonged duration under anesthesia required for implantation
of the device in one go, as anesthesia itself has it’s own dangers.
One other thing, the device has not been given FDA approval yet but they
are allowing it’s implementation by certain qualified doctors in certain
qualified hospitals in the US.
The first phase was accomplished on June 6th and the second more
complicated phase, the lower half of the stent, which included a spinal
tap[necessarily dangerous in itself] was performed on July 3rd.
As you can imagine, many thoughts have passed under the bridge since,
but a rather dark one keeps eddying.
Were we conceived on this Earth, like the good Doctor and his associates,
indeed everyone in that hospital, to benefit mankind or are we born
to destroy it? That I ask that question in our time, our vaunted time, is—-
what?—–can you tell me?—-pray tell.