The 1% Survivor: Bob Jones’ Deborah Patient Journey

Manahawkin resident Bob Jones has lived a full, rich, colorful life. And despite numerous set-backs over the years, nothing can dampen this 88-year olds spirits. Not being sunk when his destroyer was bombed off the coast of Okinawa during World War II. Not being listed as Missing in Action by the Navy. And not even have two aneurysms burst, three months apart. Nothing can keep this former basketball player and Director of Admissions at Monmouth College down.

“He has a remarkable attitude towards life,” says Marge Dragotta, Bob’s life partner who met on the Internet 14 years ago. “He has no fear whatsoever. He lives for today. There is no yesterday and no tomorrow.”

The decorated veteran who received a Purple Heart for his wartime wounds (as well as recognized with a WWII medal, a Philippines Liberation Medal, as well as Pacific and Atlantic Theater medals) is thankful that his medical journey brought him to Deborah.

Stretching back to the mid-1990s, Bob coped with a hodge-podge of health issues, including pulmonary embolisms, carotid artery surgery, knee replacement, macular degeneration, and high blood pressure. In 2006, however, he came to Deborah for a catheterization, followed by an ablation. Two years later he had angioplasty. In-between procedures, he and Marge continued their vigorous lifestyle including frequent lunches and black jack at the Borgata.

In 2012, however, Bob was caught unprepared when he suffered two aneurysms spaced three months apart.

“I was very lucky,” he recalls “to have had surgery by Dr. Lynn McGrath (Deborah’s Chair of Surgery who performed an emergency repair of an ascending aortic dissection). Then three months later I was driving to the hospital and ended up taking an emergency ride in a helicopter. I was still conscious and remember the pilot asking me if I wanted to stop at the Borgata.”

This time Bob had a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm and underwent emergency endovascular repair by Dr. Kane Chang, Deborah’s Director of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery. He credits it as a miracle that he survived both events.

“At 87 I had no business of surviving these two events in three months. I am so lucky to have originally been referred to Deborah by my cardiologist Dr. Chellaphan Vijayakumar (Manahawkin), who was very much aware of the reputation at the hospital. I’m 88 now and with the help of my life partner, we’re ready to go dancing. You think I’m not a lucky guy?”