Holbrooke underwent 20 + 7 hrs of surgery in 2 days
"Many people would have succumbed to that. Richard is fighting through," Obama adviser David Axelrod told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday. "Anyone who knows him, and I was with him Friday morning before this happened, knows how tough and resilient he is, and we're all praying that that quality sees him through now."
A torn aorta is a condition in which a rip develops in the inner wall of the body's largest artery allowing blood to enter the vessel wall and weaken it. If not corrected the condition can lead to rapid death. As blood enters the wall it reduces blood flow just as though there were a severely bleeding wound, leading to serious internal bleeding, a loss of blood flow and possible complications in organs affected by the lack of blood, according to medical experts.
While doctors were said to have stabilized Holbrooke's condition, recovery is likely to be lengthy.""
It is apparent from this Bloomberg report that Richard Holbrooke required extensive repair to his heart. A 20 hour operation is extensive and having 7 more is hard to imagine as that is 27 hours of surgery in a 48 hour period.
Recovering from anesthesia would be enormously difficult, though intensive care ensures constant monitoring and attention.
He is an extremely strong person mentally, and with all of his travel, his physical strength is pretty good, one can expect.
Travel and eating like a diplomat can be very hard to endure.
“Holbrooke Undergoes 7 More Hours of Heart Surgery, Friends Say
By Indira Lakshmanan and Molly Peterson - Dec 12, 2010 6:01 PM ET
Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, underwent another 7 hours of surgery today after a 20-hour operation that ended yesterday, according to family friends.
Today’s surgery was necessary after yesterday’s procedure to repair a tear in his aorta was slowed by the failure of his blood to clot, according to the friends, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Holbrooke isn’t out of danger and prospects for recovery may not be clear for several days, said the friends. Holbrooke was admitted to George Washington University Hospital on Dec. 10 and was reported in critical condition by State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley.
Holbrooke suffered an “aortic bleed,” White House adviser David Axelrod told CNN’s “State of the Union” program. The diplomat is “fighting through it,” he said today. Holbrooke is “tough and resilient,” Axelrod said.
Holbrooke’s condition had improved enough by this morning to allow additional surgical treatment, according a friend who has been in close contact with his family since he was hospitalized.
Holbrooke, 69, has spent the last two years traveling to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and seeking support from allies to help promote economic development and stabilize the neighboring countries that have been plagued by terrorism.
The envoy fell ill Dec. 10 while working on the seventh floor of the State Department headquarters, where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s office is located, Crowley said.”