Personal Stories: Bill Hakonson

I experienced the dissection in 2003 while going down the road at 75 mph on a

motorcycle. The feeling was like a big thick rubber band broke in my chest.

I think I heard it. I should have gone to the nearest hospital but I

continued my trip (with chest pain) thinking it would go away - perhaps

indigestion, etc. The next day my chest still hurt and my wife and daughter

INSISTED I go to the emergency room. Their tests didn't show the problem

but the emergency doc KEPT ME THERE. Only when a radiologist suggested

to the doctor on call that I have a spiral CAT SCAN was the dissection



The time that elapsed from the "break in the rubber band" until

I went to the emergency room was about 27 hours and the time that elapsed in

the emergency room until they discovered the problem was 8.5 hours and the

surgery followed 8 hours later after a life flight to Denver (I lived in

Lander Wyoming at the time). So a total of 43.5 hours elapsed.

Long story short I made it - my wife and daughter insisted I go to the

emergency room, the emergency doc kept me there and the radiologist (a

family friend) stayed with the problem.


I am not sure what I could do to help you in your effort to address the

misdiagnosis problem but I am willing to try. Surely there could be a standard

procedure in emergency rooms that could be implemented to check for it.

Perhaps a part of the education ought to include those of us

dissections - which probably includes a broad spectrum of folks (I had

rheumatic fever as a kid and higher than normal blood pressure as an adult).

Had I known the symptoms perhaps I would have been more attentive.

Until it happened to me I didn't know what an aortic dissection was. And it

happened to me when I was almost 59 years old.

Bill H


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