Amazing Medicine

Bruce Cunliff, Canyonville, Oregon

Abdominal aneurysm

These days, 72-year old Bruce Cunliff, of Canyonville, borrows a slogan from the Timex watch company to describe himself, “…I took a licking and kept on ticking,” he explained.

On April 12, 2011, Mr. Cunliff’s family physician sent him to Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg for a CT scan, after he complained of persistent pain and cramping on his right side. The CT scan, which took place around 11:15 a.m., revealed an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA), a serious and potentially life-threatening condition.

According to the National Institutes of Health, the outcome of an abdominal aneurysm is usually good if an experienced surgeon repairs the aneurysm before it ruptures; however, less than 40% of patients survive a ruptured abdominal aneurysm, which is why the doctors at Mercy told Mr. Cunliff they needed to quickly airlift him to Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield, Ore.        
Around noon, Bruce’s wife, Cathy, watched as the helicopter transporting Mr. Cunliff left Mercy Medical Center heading to Sacred Heart at RiverBend, and by 1:10 p.m. he was on the operating room table. Dr. David DeHaas, Sacred Heart’s director of trauma and surgery, performed a four-hour procedure.

Mr. Cunliff survived the surgery, and was in the ICU for a day before moving to a medical floor at Sacred Heart. He was discharged home a week later and has since had follow up appointments with Dr. DeHaas and his family practice physician. He is happy to report that he is recovering well.
Both Bruce and his wife were amazed at how well Bruce’s care was coordinated between Mercy Medical Center and Sacred Heart.

“We greatly appreciate the quick action taken by everyone involved to save his life, from our initial contact with our primary care provider, to the quick measures taken by hospital staff and physicians at Mercy Medical Center and Sacred Heart,” said Cathy.