New technology helps save man’s heart

WEST TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – One West Terre Haute man says he wouldn’t be alive if he didn’t pay the doctor a visit when he did. Now, after a crippling diagnosis, he’s soldiering on.

Late December of 2013, Dustin Weger went to the doctor’s office, not feeling like himself.
“Went in, told them I thought I had the flu and couldn’t shake it. [The doctor] come in and told me there was a problem with my heart and that’s pretty much all he told me at that standpoint. [He] Said that I was being admitted to the ICU,” Weger said.

Weger learned he had cardio-myopathy. It’s a disease that’s caused him to have an enlarged heart.

“It runs on my dad’s side of the family. I had a brother that actually passed away a couple of years ago at the age of 35,” Weger said. He had to be transported to Methodist Hospital. He lost consciousness and woke up six days later.

Doctors said he’d need a heart transplant, but in the meantime, they had to keep his heart pumping. They give him enough pills to fill a pharmacy, but they also used technology.

“A left ventricular assist device was the way to go. It’s basically an electric pump to the left side of my heart and it does all the pumping,” Weger said. He’s the first in Vigo County to have it. It basically keeps him alive by pumping the left side of his heart.

In the meantime, this ordeal has taken a financial strain on Weger, and his two kids. To help with medical bills, his family is having a benefit this Sunday. It’ll be held at the AMVETS Post 222, beginning at 2 p.m. There will be a silent auction, dinner and live music.

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