Spencerport man defies odds and gives new term to “lease on life”

Local News

SPENCERPORT, N.Y. (WIVB)– A Spencerport man has defied the odds and given new meaning to the term “lease on life”.

Taking a look at Rob McRonald today, you would never know of the nearly impossible uphill battle he’s climbed.

“My first memories probably don’t kick in fully until sometime around the 6th or 7th of December,” explained Rob.

For two weeks, Rob was in a coma after suffering what doctors call a catastrophic heart attack.

He was initially taken to Unity Hospital, where doctors say he died… and then they brought him back to life.

“Everybody keeps asking me, did I see bright lights or people in heaven. Unfortunately I didn’t. I had a lot of very crazy dreams,” said Rob.

When Rob woke up, he was at Rochester Regional, disoriented and had a hard time believing where he was.

What he did know is that he needed life saving surgery if we was going to survive and be there for his wife and four kids.

“I used to wear my heart on my sleeve and now I carry it around in a little case and I came home around the 4th of January and I’ve been recovering and gaining strength ever since,” explained Rob as he showed off his new lifeline.

Rob’s heart was so badly damaged that a stent and medication wouldn’t help.

He was fitted with a type of heart pump known as an LVAD and he’ll have it for the rest of his life.

“This is the actual heart pump right here that sits inside of him. It’s relatively small. It’s half a pound and this pump basically runs 24 hours 7 days a week inside of him,” said Doctor Scott Feitell, the medical director of heart failure at Rochester Regional Hospital.

Adjusting to a new normal is relatively familiar to Rob.

He’s a stage 3 lung cancer survivor.

“They keep telling me I’m a cat, I’ve got 9 lives. I don’t know what else I could go through,” said Rob.

“There are patients that stick with you the rest of their live and me and Dr. Hall — you talk with residents, you talk with house staff — he’s a case everybody in the hospital knows about. You never want to be the sickest guy in the hospital and Rob had that title for quite some time,” said Dr. Feitell.

“Five to six years ago without this technology Rob would not be with us right now, explained Doctor Cameron Hall, an interventional cardiologist at Rochester Regional.

Defying the odds and paving a new path… this man is living proof that with a lot of grit, and help from doctors, you can survive anything.

Melanie Orlins is an anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2017. See more of her work here.

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