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Surviving an Aortic Aneurysm - Vascular Surgery

“I found him on the floor. I couldn’t get him up, so I ran for the first person I could find, and it was a great big guy on a lawnmower, and his name was Jesus, and I thought, here it is!” It was the dreadful moment Yvonne Bierderman worried about for four years—after doctors told her, her husband Charles was living with an aortic aneurysm. “Unfortunately, it was a very difficult case because he has the aneurysm in the big vessel in the belly and he has another big one in the pelvis. He was a very poor surgical candidate,” said Dr. Moutaa BenMaamer, a general and vascular surgeon with Lee Health. But when the aneurysm burst—Charles was rushed to HealthPark Medical Center-in hopes that surgery would save his life. “By the time I got into the Emergency Room, Dr. BenMaamer came in, and he started pulling him, and I said where are you going, and he said, do you want him to live? And I said yes! I just had to trust him,” said Yvonne. When an aortic aneurysm bleeds, patients may experience shock, hypertension, fainting, rapid heart rate, and stomach pain. “Fifty percent die before they go to the hospital, fifty percent they go to surgery, fifty percent of them die, so whatever is left is really a small number,” explained Dr. BenMaamer. Working against time, Dr. BenMaamer and his team quickly performed a minimally invasive procedure—stopping the bleeding and saving Charles’ life. “I just couldn’t believe that he was alive. They are the miracles, those doctors. They are the miracle people. They saved his life,” Yvonne said. Just two months after surgery, the 87-year-old is back to his normal routine—and the aortic aneurysm is no longer a concern. View More Health Matters video segments at Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care. Visit