WARREN, Ohio — February is American Heart Health Month, an important time to bring awareness to the number one killer of men and women worldwide, heart disease. This year, however, health experts say there is another concern, Americans avoiding checkups and treatment due to COVID-19.
“Every moment that I have since that event, needs to be cherished,” says Pat Parry.
Parry is an attorney in Warren, Ohio. He’s the father of 3 girls and the husband of a school nurse, but he’s also quite lucky to be sharing his story today.
“This changed my outlook on life, changed my outlook on how I am with my family,” Parry said.
Dr. Heba Wassif, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic and one of Parry’s doctors says, “Patrick’s story, I think, is extremely powerful. It was the worst case scenario that had the best outcome.”
In April of 2020, Pat woke up and didn’t quite feel right. He chalked it up to heartburn and didn’t want to go see a doctor for fear of contracting Covid-19. His wife found him a few hours later, passed out on the bathroom floor after a massive heart attack.
“I didn’t want to expose myself to Covid at the hospital and then return home and expose everybody else that was with us,” says Parry.
He isn’t alone in his fear.
Cleveland Clinic just released a study that says 48% of Americans have avoided seeing a doctor or going to the hospital due to Coronavirus concerns. They also found that 53% of heart disease patients reported symptoms during the pandemic, but more than one third didn’t seek any help.
Dr. Wassif says, “The consequences of their illness that prevents them from going to the doctor are much larger than the risks of contracting Covid in the hospital.”
Pat spent 2 months in hospitals. He had multiple stents, 2 cardiac arrests, liver failure, kidney failure and contracted septic. The doctors gave him less than a 14% of survival.
Parry says, “I hope that I’m worthy of this chance that I got.”
Parry overcame the odds and is now back at home with his wife and 3 daughters and back at the law office. He’s also using his second lease on life to warn others, not to make the same mistake that he made.
“The greater risk was not seeking treatment,” says Parry. “I hope my mistake can inform others not to make the same mistake.”
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