How a medical screening saved a life

Janet and Nat Goss

When Wake Forest Baptist Health – Lexington Medical Center holds a medical screening, you can bet on Nat and Janet Goss being there.

That’s because on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2010, Nat Goss was the only person among about 120 people screened found to have an abdominal aortic aneurysm. After the screening pointed to the potential problem, Goss saw his doctor on Monday and was having potentially life-saving surgery less than two weeks later.

Goss says he remembers coming out of the screening and the nurse advising him a doctor might want to speak with him.

“I didn’t think anything of it. I thought they were talking to everybody. But the doctor said you’ve got an aneurysm. They’re killers and you need to have it checked now. So I did.’’

Goss tells his story with droll humor, repeating the refrain “there wasn’t nothing wrong with me’’ multiple times as he recounts, still almost with disbelief, at how it all happened.

Janet Goss says it all happened so fast.

“We really didn’t know enough about it to be scared,’’ she says.

The aorta is the largest artery in the body and runs from the heart, down through the chest, and into the abdomen. An aneurysm occurs in the abdominal area when the wall of the aorta progressively weakens and begins to enlarge or bulge. If untreated, aneurysms can continue to enlarge and rupture, causing severe internal bleeding and possibly death. There are often no symptoms to warn of a possible abdominal aortic aneurysm.

If the aneurysm had burst either before the surgery or during, Goss could have died.

Today, Goss, 75, is the picture of health. He had given up a three-pack-a-day smoking habit 20 years before the aneurysm was discovered, and had had two stents put in his heart, also before the aneurysm.

He and his wife now take advantage of every free screening offered by Lexington Medical Center.

Janet Goss also volunteers both in the Lexington Medical Center gift shop and for the Lexington Medical Center Foundation. Nat Goss, a retired machinist for Proctor & Schwartz, also volunteers on occasion for the Medical Center, helping out at special events such as the annual Sportsman’s Saturday fundraiser.

Nat Goss is well aware that the screening saved his life, and he recommends that everyone take advantage when Lexington Medical Centers offers free health events to the public.

“My very best friend in life died a year ago of the same thing,’’ he says. “He didn’t know he had it.’’

 

 

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