Last minute salvage
But Mr. Simmons' daughter, Emma Williams, insisted on finding another way. She couldn't bear to see her father - a spirited, active man and former union leader who walked around town every day - lose his mobility, just yet.
Local physicians helped Ms. Williams reach Varinder Singh, MD, chair of cardiology at Lenox Hill Hospital, who agreed to give a second opinion and see if Mr. Simmons' leg could be saved. He arranged to get Mr. Simmons transferred to Lenox Hill as quickly as possible.
"Timing was absolutely critical," Dr. Singh said. "Once the muscle dies, the leg is in trouble even if blood flow is restored."
Mr. Simmons was flown to New York by air ambulance, where Lenox Hill's vascular surgeons awaited his arrival. Under the direction of Alfio Carroccio, MD, chief of vascular surgery, surgeon Khalil Qato, MD, and the rest of the team removed the clot just in time, restoring circulation and ultimately, saving the leg from amputation.