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After Surviving Life-Threatening Ordeal, Man Raises Awareness On Importance Of Sick Leave

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A boss made his employee to take a sick day in a move that saved his life.

In April 2015, Mike Bell of McKinney, Texas, went to work one day feeling fine, and ended the day at a hospital in critical condition. Although he reportedly only felt “a little dizzy,” his boss, Gus Rodriguez, urged him to seek medical attention.

"My boss, the second he came up to me said, 'Mike, you look like [expletive,] you need to go to the doctor and figure out what's going on,'" Bell told ABC News.

When Bell went to the hospital a few hours later, he collapsed and was rushed to emergency surgery.

"The last thing I remember is being scooted on a conveyor belt" for an X-ray, Bell recalled. "The next thing on Saturday morning is Dr. [Mark] Pool standing over me."

Doctors discovered that Bell had a tear in his aortic valve, one of the main vessels attached to the heart, which was causing his lungs to fill with blood. Bell underwent open-heart surgery, and said that doctors gave him only a 30 percent chance of survival.

"Without prompt intervention he would have died within a few hours," Pool, a cardiac surgeon at Texas Health Physicians Group, told WFAA.

Bell had a blood infection from an infected tooth that caused him to tear his aorta as he coughed. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, an aortic dissection is life-threatening and needs to be treated immediately. Less than 50 percent of those with a torn aorta survive, and those who do will need aggressive high blood pressure treatment for the rest of their lives.

Bell's boss at the car dealership supported the sales manager and his family while they awaited the results from his surgery. Rodriguez also made sure Bell and his family were managing while he was recovering, and that Bell was completely well before returning to work. 

"He took care of me and made sure I could still pay the bills," said Bell. "He didn't let me come back until I gained some weight."

After surviving this ordeal, Bell wants to raise awareness about the life-saving importance of sick leave.

Sources: WFAA, U.S. National Library of Medicine / Photo credit: WFAA

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