Penn Heart and Vascular

Patients of the Vascular Surgery Patient Story

Martin's Story

"I had a serious aneurysm that had to be removed. Problem was, it was a very hard–to–reach place."

Martin O'Connor, 78, Avid golfer

"Fourteen years ago, I found out I had an aneurysm. My doctor, from another hospital, was able to remove it, but he also noticed another smaller one near my stomach that he said he'd have to keep an eye on. Eventually it became the size of an orange and if it were to burst, he said it could be fatal...I could bleed out in minutes.

Only one problem: because of the difficult location, my doctor didn't feel qualified to remove it. He told me I should go to Penn Medicine for the operation. So when I went up to Penn, I met with Dr. Fairman, the Chief of Vascular Surgery. Right off the bat, I felt good about how confident he was to do my procedure, compared to my other doctor. He immediately named three or four different ways he could go about it and he didn't seem concerned at all. So, I felt a lot better about it.

The other thing he did before he operated was run all kinds of tests—tests I never knew existed. He said he wanted to determine what my body could tolerate, at my age. I'm fairly active, and it did turn out that I could have the operation we wanted, which required a larger incision.

So we went ahead with the operation, and it went great. He removed the aneurysm, and he had to move organs around to get it out. He visited me every day after the operation and was wonderful about answering questions. The nurses were fantastic too. They could not have been nicer. And my family appreciated that they could flag down Dr. Fairman in the hall and ask questions and he was very caring and thorough. In no time at all, they had me up and around and day after day, I just kept getting better.

In a few months, I was back to golfing, The way you have to twist your body can be tough, but I got right out there when we had some good weather days in February and now I'm better than ever. It's a great relief knowing that you can walk around and there's nothing that's going to burst inside you. I can't say enough about Penn Medicine. I would recommend it to anyone."

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