Quadruple bypass surgery saves former sanitation worker

As testing identified a massive heart attack, Robert Bass learned that he endured several heart attacks during the past year. Each was hidden by an arm injury. Thankfully, quadruple bypass surgery restored his health.

A former sanitation worker, Robert Bass was hurt on the job during clean up after Hurricane Sandy. The injury caused severe numbing in his left arm, hiding dangerous warning signs of potential health issues, such as heart attacks.

One day while waiting for a furniture delivery, Mr. Bass felt a crushing chest pain.

“I was completely out of breath,” he said. “It felt like there was a few hundred pounds of pressure weighing on my chest."

Detecting a massive heart attack

After some encouragement, Mr. Bass’ family took him to the Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH) where they performed an EKG. The results were OK, but further testing showed Bass was experiencing a massive heart attack. The real surprise: he had several heart attacks throughout year, hidden by his injury.

Mohammad Imam, MD, chair of SIUH’s Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery and executive director of The Heart Institute, performed coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), saving his life.

Life after quadruple bypass surgery

Mr. Bass literally wears his heart on his sleeve. The avid Mets fan sports a tattoo of the team’s logo, but instead features his son’s name, Matt. To avoid creating a scar through his beloved tattoo, Dr. Imam made a small incision by his wrist and clipped the vein by the elbow, leaving the tattoo untouched.

Since quadruple bypass surgery, Mr. Bass is a new man. College of Staten Island baseball head coach Michael Mauro even heard his story and offered him a volunteer position. Mr. Bass is now helping the Dolphins for the 2018 season, which began earlier this month.

"I never thought I’d be able to play baseball with my grandchildren,” Mr. Bass said. “I feel like I’m 25 again. Now, I can go for 5-mile walk, and play with the grandchildren."

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