NEW ORLEANS — In January, WWL-TV aired a Medical Watch story letting viewers know about a free medical screening at University Medical Center. It turned out to be the largest one of its kind in Louisiana. Between 200 and 300 people showed up.
Of those screened, nearly two dozen people were diagnosed with cardiovascular problems, like Clint Montz.
When Montz's wife Ze' daLez heard about the free ultrasound screening at UMC of the arteries in the neck, chest, abdomen and legs, she decided they were going together.
"I was mostly just kind of going along with my wife as she brought me through it," remember Clint, 62, who said he didn't want to go at the time.
That was because he never expected that medical outing would save his life.
"I cried. Got really upset, and they had to say, 'Calm down. Calm down,'" remembers Ze' daLez.
Chief of LSU Health Cardiothoracic Surgery, Dr. William Risher, found a silent killer: A very large abdominal aortic aneurysm. It's a bubble in the main artery that was ready to rupture. When Clint went to the follow up clinic visit, he was sent straight to the emergency room to prepare for surgery.
"We admitted him and never left him go home. If I have a patient with an 8.5 centimeter aneurysm, just because the incidence of rupture's so high, I couldn't live with myself if I let somebody go home," said Risher.
Clint is now a month post-op with a graft internally strengthening his aorta. Since he was still healing around Mardi Gras and couldn't go out, the couple had a party.
They invited people over and gave out brochures about Aneurysm Outreach, the non-profit that organized the free screening. They hope to raise awareness and save lives.
"I felt fine before, but you know, I could have died at any time, so I had to do it. And I did it," said Montz. "Absolutely. Absolutely saved my life."
Many people were diagnosed at the screening, but like Risher said, just saving one, like Clint, made it all worthwhile
The next free screening is May 11 of the abdomen only. (See details below)
8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
1-888-871-3801 for an appointment
LSU Health- Healthcare Network
3700 St. Charles Avenue
55 and older
To register for the screening, click here