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Former trainee's surgery successful

By James Coburn | 37th Training Wing Public Affairs | Dec. 7, 2006

Lackland Air Force Base, Texas — Bryan Hines, who collapsed and nearly died Oct. 27 at Lackland, is recuperating at his San Antonio home following successful surgery to reposition a heart artery and vein, his mother said Monday.

Mr. Hines, a basic military trainee at the time, was trying to complete a 1.5-mile run to pass his physical readiness training requirements when he fell unconscious, striking his head on the PRT pad.

Three military training instructors in the 319th Training Squadron gave him cardiopulmonary resuscitation, restoring his heartbeat and breathing, before he was transported unconscious and in critical condition to Wilford Hall Medical Center.

As reported in last week's Talespinner, Mr. Hines was born 18 years ago with a slightly misplaced pulmonary artery, but the condition had gone undetected. Mr. Hines was medically discharged for surgery at Methodist Heart Hospital.

A Lackland doctor said the condition was fully correctable with bypass surgery, but Anita Hines said a bypass wasn't required. She said the surgeon, Dr. Lawrence Hamner, simply moved an artery and a vein to their correct positions during surgery Nov. 21.

"You'll be fine; you can do anything you want to," she quoted Dr. Hamner as telling her son afterward.

Mr. Hines previously said he would like to come back into the Air Force. "He's hoping for that," his mother said, adding that the surgeon said he would give a recommendation if need be.

Mrs. Hines said it probably will be about six months before he will be ready to re-enter the Air Force. He just needs time to regain his strength and for his breastbone to heal, she said.

"I think it turned out great," she said, though she wished the surgery could have been done sooner so the family could have spent Thanksgiving at home instead of the hospital.

"It was still a Thanksgiving to remember, of course," she added. "We're home now together. All in all, the process went fine."