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Dr. Thomas Martin; Florida; Thorasic Surgeon-Heart & Stomach
I posted here over a year ago during a difficult time. My grandmother was diagnosed with an aortic anuerism (very severe 7+). I only wanted to post this follow-up in case anyone is every faced with this situation since there are very few surgeons who successfully practice this operation on aortic anuerisms, especially bloodless.
We met Dr Thomas Martin, who practices at Shands Hospital in Gainsesville, Fl. He was such a wonderful, talented, comforting Dr. He put us all at ease during the pre-screening and review all the necessary details to take into consideration before conducting a surgery.
My grandmother, who was 72 at the time, did not elect to take any supplemental non-blood products, even the albumin to boost her blood count to prepare weeks before the surgery. I can't explain how personally frustrating this part of the process was-all these conscientious choices that she was refusing left and right. But, I get this is typical of the older generation of JW's who grep when nothing was acceptable.
Depsite all of that, and her blood count not being at the desirable level, Dr Martin and team moved forward with the surgery. It was a huge success!!! He is known for his "fast" technique which adds to his success. She did elect to be on the machine that circulates the blood-but that was it.
I only posted to put his name out there-he is truly a life-saver for anyone that can't partake of blood transfusion and are diganosed with this type of anuerism. Please pass it along to all and keep for reference.
A personal note from me:
If you are a family member that is supporting someone that is a committed JW-I can sympathize with your unique struggle of being at the sidelines. We faced so many obstacles-from incompetent Dr's that told her that no surgeon has ever practiced a surgery like this without blood thereby giving her a death sentence(this coming from Emory in Atl-an award winning heart facility) to coming to terms with how far some witnesses consciences go with acceptable treatments. I cried so many nights and nearly pulled my hair out as my grandmother revealed her decisions of denying so many treatments to aid with the surgery before and after. From albumin, cryo-precipitate, and endless other items. Although I personally disagree with these choices-I had to come to terms with her resolve. It took me a while to get there-and it was through the help of dear friend that helped me to see this. Each and everyone of us has to make choices and live by them. Observing her choice of which she was fully comprehensive of, finally led me to peace with the process. Whether she died or lived, I was not going to blame it one thing like albumin, or being a JW, or her weak heart. Instead, I found piece that she has committed herself to a cause and choice and stuck through it no matter what. It takes guts to be that strong. Please keep that in mind if you are dealing with a loved one whose views of the world you don't always understand or even agree with. In the end it has worked out. She credits Jehovah and I credit we got lucky landing into Dr Martin's hands when we did. It could have so easily went the other way. But, I'm glad I've made peace with her choices-that's ultimately what helped get me through when there was so much I couldn't make sense of.
We would have never known about Dr. Martin had it not been for the wonderful physician at Atlanta Medical Center that personally researched the matter and gave us hope.