A grandfather of four nearly lost his life after pains in the garden led to a 12 hour operation.
Martin Haworth, 79, from Hutton near Preston, brought in the new year by toasting a Fylde coast surgeon who performed the operation on him late last year.
Martin, a former principle administrator with Preston Council, was in his garden when he suddenly felt a severe pain in his jaw, followed later by chest pains.
An ambulance was called and Martin was taken to the Royal Preston Hospital but was soon transported to the Lancashire Cardiac Centre at Blackpool Victoria Hospital where he underwent a major emergency operation for an “aortic dissection” where a tear inside the aorta causes a flow of blood internally leading to severe pain.
The operation also included the replacement of the aortic valve in the heart, and a double by-pass.
Martin’s wife of 54 years Margaret said: “Martin is very active and was in the garden when he felt this real pain.
“My neighbour, a nurse, immediately suggested calling for an ambulance, and Martin was taken to Blackpool Victoria for what turned out to be a major operation under Nidal Bittar that saved his life.
“We were warned that Martin’s condition was particularly serious and the operation was a dangerous one. After about 10 hours Mr Bittar came to see us and let us know that Martin’s condition was not good but he would do all he can.
“He did that and more and got him through and I can’t thank Mr Bittar and his staff enough. He performed an absolute miracle and we will never forget what he did for us.
“Martin spent a lot of time in intensive care after the operation and the staff there were wonderful too.
“Nothing was too much trouble and when we went back to see them a few weeks ago they were so glad to see us and one of the nurses was even in tears which showed us how much they actually care for the people they look after.’’
Mr Bittar, the Syrian born cardiothoracic surgeon, said: “Martin’s operation was a difficult one and we almost lost him but luckily after the third attempt we were able wean him off the bypass machine.”