Lifespan Cardiovascular Institute

Minister’s Miracle Was in the Hands of His Surgeon

At the insistence of his wife of 50 years, Roger Stafford got to the hospital with little time to spare. The discomfort in his chest was not indigestion, but an aortic dissection. Most people don’t make it in time to be diagnosed.

 Frank W. Sellke, MD

Surgery in Time Is Divine Intervention

The skills of Lifespan’s unparalleled medical team saved Roger Stafford’s life following an aortic dissection and cardiac arrest. Watch NBC10 News health reporter Barbara Morse recount what some describe as a miracle. 

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As Frank W. Sellke, MD, Lifespan’s chief of the division of cardiothoracic surgery, prepared for surgery, Stafford experienced cardiac arrest. He had no heartbeat or pulse, and oxygen was not making it to his brain. Dr. Sellke went forward with the surgery despite the odds – more than 90 percent of patients that have a cardiac arrest before they're ready for surgery do not make it.

Within hours following the prolonged surgery, Stafford was awake. He was home in a week without any neurological impairment. 

The surgery performed by Dr. Sellke was critical and timely. For Stafford, a minister, there may have been an additional miracle at work.