Paul Hanna bet his pals he’d ace his physical.
He lost the bet, but won his life.
In case there was any question about how smart it is for middle-aged executives to enter Cleveland Clinic’s Executive Health Program, Paul Hanna is living proof…because he’s living.
Mr. Hanna, a 49-year-old father of four and owner and President of Blue Technologies, decided it would be wise to make sure the health of his company’s top executives (all long-time buddies as well) was in good standing. So he signed them all up for Executive Health physicals at Cleveland Clinic.
Ex-Football Star Trains for Physical
The men expected a few red flags about, say, cholesterol levels, maybe a vitamin deficiency or body mass index concern here and there. They even made it a sort of light-hearted competition, trying to outdo each other on the physical. (Mr. Hanna worked out more than usual to get in shape for it.)
A 5.9-Centimeter Red Flag
Mr. Hanna chose to undergo a CT (computed tomography) and was on the verge of calling his wife to boast that he aced his stress test. But the doctor suddenly pulled him aside. Because of a history of aneurysms in the family (his mother had a stroke, and his grandmother died from aortic aneurysm dissections), Raul Seballos, MD, paid special attention to the CT scan. Sure enough, he noticed a large aortic aneurysm.
This ballooning out and thinning of part of the wall in the body’s largest artery is often silent, causing no symptoms. But when an aneurysm ruptures, it is fatal about 50 percent of the time. Without treatment, his aneurysm was likely to burst in just three to six months.
"Dr. Seballos was nothing but upbeat about my chances—he instilled confidence that it could be fixed—that meant a lot to me," Mr. Hanna says.
He was guilty of a common human failing—he thought he was invincible. “I was strong as a bull and worked out five days a week. I don’t know what other people think, but I think I’m Superman,” Mr. Hanna says. The former college and pro football player suddenly found himself writing a will.
A Whole New Ballgame
In March of 2008, Cleveland Clinic heart and vascular surgeon Lars Svensson, MD, performed surgery to reinforce his weakened aorta. Within three months, Mr. Hanna was back to 95 percent of his strength. Today, he’s doing great, regularly urges people to get a physical, and has extended the Executive Health Program to more of his company’s managers.
"I’m so thankful to Cleveland Clinic and to Dr. Seballos for everything… and to my surgeon, Dr. Svensson, one of the top cardiac surgeons in the world," Mr. Hanna says.