Health Scares & Survival

Come Back to MeJay has survived a variety of serious health emergencies. He has suffered two heart attacks — the second was an LAD Occlusion (the widowmaker). His second heart attack led to a number of serious medical complications. He suffered cardiogenic shock, paralysis, sepsis, muscular atrophy, severe neuropathy, and an unbelievable amount of time in profound hypoxia.

The medical team had to initiate hypothermia protocols to preserve his failing organs — his heart, lungs, kidneys and liver had all suffered severe damage and were no longer functioning properly. Facing a grim prognosis, the medical team used emergency ECMO to provide the cardiac and respiratory support Jay’s organs could no longer provide, and Jay was put into a medically induced coma.

Upon waking from the coma, Jay was paralyzed and suffering from severe muscular atrophy. As time passed, he slowly regained sensation in his arms and legs. As he recovered, Jay had to re-learn how to feed himself, write, walk, and perform other basic tasks people tend to take for granted.

His remarkable recovery is a testament to the amazing team of medical experts and the advanced medical technology available during his treatment. Unfortunately, not all patients have access to the same resources available to Jay  during his hospitalization and subsequent convalescence — and fewer have a spouse as well versed in the healthcare system as Jay’s wife.

The involvement of Jay’s wife was crucial to avoiding potentially catastrophic drug interactions. After release from the hospital, Jay visited three doctors from three different healthcare oranizations — and each doctor had a different “current medications” list. Despite their best intentions, the doctors did not have access to the most up-to-date, accurate information critical to managing Jay’s medical condition. This close call was one of the events that galvanized Jay’s resolve to become an active advocate for a patient’s right to the best possible healthcare.

Jay has told his story and shared his patient experiences with a wide variety of audiences, including New Employee Orientation at healthcare providers, Executive Team  & Board Meetings, and the Minnesota Health Association. Jay was also invited to join the 2013 Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care national seminar to share his patient story with healthcare professionals from across the country. Jay has also written about his unique experiences in the book Come Back to Me.