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A Second Chance at Life

Larry Watkins lives in a constant state of deep gratitude for his life and for the lifesaving care he received at Providence Mission Hospital

Back in 2020, Larry Watkins was enjoying an active life. He and Millie, his wife of 40 years, spent their time skiing, boating and playing tennis. When he ruptured a quadricep after tumbling down a flight of stairs, the procedure to repair his tendon went smoothly. Larry left the hospital with 88 stitches and orders to rest. What he didn’t know was that the injury triggered a ripple effect of complications that would bring him face-to-face with death.

Four days after surgery, he woke up in a panic. “I was screaming, ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,’” he recalls. “Then, I passed out.” Larry’s daughter and grandson called 911. Within five minutes, he arrived at Providence Mission Hospital’s emergency department.

Upon arrival, Larry experienced sudden cardiac arrest, one of two he would have in succession. The emergency team successfully revived him long enough to diagnose a massive pulmonary embolism, a blood clot that was blocking all blood flow to Larry’s heart.

New technology made the difference between life and death

Interventional radiologist Kevin Burns, M.D., was on duty the day Larry was admitted to the hospital. According to Dr. Burns, 95 percent of those who develop this condition don’t survive, which is why Larry was read his last rights in the ICU. “The situation was dire, and I knew we had to act fast,” says Dr. Burns. “In the past, our only treatment option was TPA, an IV medication with numerous side effects. Fortunately, thanks to philanthropy, we are equipped with an advanced catheter that immediately removes clots and provides instant relief.”

Dr. Burns and a team of critical care specialists rushed Larry into the procedure room, and miraculously, within minutes of his CT scan, they removed the clots. “Larry would not have made it without access to this advanced technology,” says Dr. Burns. “It’s really the only viable option for saving someone with a massive embolism like his.” Larry credits Dr. Burns, Providence Mission Hospital and the donors who supported this new technology with his second chance. “Two days after my procedure, Dr. Burns came bouncing in. He was so excited the new technology worked on me — there was so much joy,” says Larry. “He was instrumental in saving my life.”

Today, Larry moves through the world with a deep sense of gratitude and presence. “There’s not a waking moment that I’m not cognizant of how fortunate I am. Everything is far more intense. I don’t miss a sunrise, and I don’t miss a sunset.” 

Thank you to our generous donors for helping us deliver the advanced cardiovascular care that gave Larry his second chance and for helping us provide lifesaving care to our community every day.

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Contact Us

Call: (949) 364-7783
Address: 27700 Medical Center Road, Medical Office Building 3, Suite 364,
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
Email: missionfoundation@providence.org

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