Small heart pump saves Dallas man

A Dallas man nearly died on his way to tailgate for a Cowboys game, but he's back home with his family planning the next tailgate party, thanks to a tiny pump.

On Sunday, Oct. 11, Freddie Diaz was loading his truck on his way to tailgate at AT&T Stadium, but something wasn’t right.

“I'm sweating, shaking and vomiting,” said Diaz.

Diaz called 911.

“He says, ‘You got four aspirins at home, baby aspirin?’” said Diaz. “He said, ‘Go ahead and chew them. You're having a heart attack.’”

Dr. Aaron Horne was the cardiologist on call at Methodist Dallas Medical Center’s trauma center and immediately went to work on Diaz.

He inserted a catheter with the tiniest heart pump available, the Impella, through Diaz's groin to keep the great grandfather alive until Horn could put in five stents.

“This device enables us to still get flow to the brain and all the vital organs while we are able to address what the inciting event was, and in many instances being a heart attack,” said Horne.

“And that essentially buys you time,” said FOX 4’s Natalie Solis.

“That's exactly right,” said Horne.

In just over a week, Diaz was home.

“They’ve been asking me, ‘You had a heart attack and you didn't have open heart surgery?’” said Diaz. “I said, ‘There's this little machine and it does miracles.’”

As for his beloved Cowboys, Diaz isn't losing hope.

He’s just grateful for every day, and that he can wear his Romo jersey and cheer them on.

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