CLEVELAND, Ohio - A heart patient got married at Cleveland Clinic on Valentine's Day after New York doctors gave him only months to live.
Fifty-seven-year-old Lee Hoaglan of Ovid, N.Y. had resolved that he would not likely live past Christmas 2012. Through 2011, Lee had had four open heart surgeries to repair his aortic valve.
According to Cleveland Clinic officials, Hoaglan found his heart failing him again toward the end of 2011, and was told he would need another heart surgery to survive. But his surgeons in Rochester told him that his case was too risky for a fifth surgery, and he was turned down as a candidate for transplant.
So Hoaglan moved into a retirement village so he wouldn't further damage his heart while doing routine maintenance on his home. That's when they said he met Phyllis. Hoaglan said "it was pretty much love at first sight" for him; but since he was on hospice care and doctors expected him to die by Christmas 2012, he didn't pursue her.
Hoaglan had worked nearly 30 years as a paramedic, so he knew what the prognosis meant. Hoaglan said he had accepted his mortality; however, he didn't give up on himself. Thankfully, neither did the physician's assistant at his primary doctor's office who sent his medical records to Cleveland Clinic said hospital officials. This past summer, Hoaglan was given another shot at life, when he had his fifth open-heart surgery to replace his aortic root and valve and a bypass graft.
The operation lasted five hours, but Hoaglan was under for about two days due to the extreme complexity of his case.
Hoaglan survived the surgery that his surgeons in Rochester said he wouldn't. He been doing very well since the surgery. He returned to Cleveland Clinic Thursday for his check-up.
His prognosis is that it'll will be about 10 years before he'll require another heart surgery. So he decided to give it a shot with Phyllis after all.
The two got engaged over the holidays, and they exchanged vows on Valentine's Day in the chapel at Cleveland Clinic, where he had his life-saving surgery.
He was only expecting the surgeon who saved his life, Dr. Gosta Pettersson to show up for the nuptials. But, Hoaglan was pleasantly surprised when Dr. Pettersson and the entire team that tended to him during his two days in the operating room showed up.
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