Horse Gulch Blog

Watchdogging for the greater Durango area

8 Dec 2021

Blood clots removed from hospitalized Durango man–Coach Andrew Pietrack

Posted by Adam Howell


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Blood clots were removed from a Durango man who was hospitalized after cysts on his pancreas had popped, he said that the doctors told him. The man had also previously taken a COVID-19 vaccination, he said.

Andrew Pietrack is a baseball coach, a husband to his wife Aruna, and a father of a newborn. In recovery, he was scheduled to be sent home from UNM Hospital on December 7, 2021.

Pietrack’s experience started on his way to work one day, when he stopped at Creature Comforts to get some dog food. While walking back to his car he noticed that he could not move his left leg very well.

“It was stiffening up,” Pietrack said. “It also looked a lot bigger than my other leg.”

“It was kind of alarming, so I drove across the street to the urgent care that was right there.”

“I started honking my horn because I couldn’t walk any more and I know that kind of pissed off the lady that was working in there.” he said. “But she finally got out there and realized what was going on.”

“They took my information, and said hold on for a little bit. When I finally go checked in–maybe a half an hour later–they called an ambulance and they basically said you’ve got to go to the emergency room.”

“Also, I was able to call my wife and she got down there and picked up my dog.”

“When I got to the emergency room, they started saying, ‘well, having a leg that’s so much bigger than the other one like that, it normally means clots. It could be a lot of different things’.”

“They said we need to get you somewhere besides here, we just don’t have a way to deal with it.”

Doctors finally found a facility that could handle this type of injury, he said.


Pietrack flown to University of New Mexico Hospital

Medical staff decided to fly Pietrack to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque.

“Very fortunately for me, one of the only places in the country that does a procedure that I had to have–otherwise I would die–that’s where I’m at right now.”

“They have a procedure called ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), which is where they can take all of your blood out, reoxygenate it, and then put it back in your body for you.”

“At the same time, they were able to do a 3-D rendering using an echocardiogram of my lungs and everything.”

blood clots they removed

Photo of blood clots courtesy of Andrew Pietrack.

“They found so many blood clots,” said Pietrack. “It was like packages of bacon coming out of me.”

“It was just very extensive as far as blood clots. They were worried about my lungs, about my heart, about my brain, everything.”

“Anyways, they had to put me into a chemically-induced coma, just because they didn’t want any of the blood clotting to slowly flow somewhere where it could really cause some damage.”

“Without that procedure, I would not have made it. There’s nothing they could have done for me anywhere.”

Lindsay Radford, the Director of External & Field Communications for Centura Health did not respond to an emailed question as to whether Mercy Medical Center in Durango offers ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) as a service.

Cause of blood clotting explained to Pietrack

While Pietrack did receive a COVID-19 vaccination which is known to cause blood clots, his doctors had a different explanation for what happened.

The clotting started with his body attacking the cysts, he said.

“What they think happened, is I’ve had some pancreas issues in the past. I’ve had cysts that have been around my pancreas. They think that I had a number of those–they know I did. And they think that my body was starting to fight those cysts as those cysts were starting to pop. And the way my body was fighting it was by clotting it up. They think that’s kind of what started the process,” said Pietrack.

“That’s probably what started it, but still, my body went haywire and just clotted my lungs and everything.”

“They had to have a machine breathe for me.”

“The doctors have it pretty spot on. It’s nothing to do with any kind of covid shot. Covid had really nothing to do with this,” he said. “It’s really just those cysts that were being clotted by my body doing what it thought was best, and then just having way too many clots all at the same time shutting down my lungs.”

“I have had pancreatitis for a few years,” he said.

Pietrack was never shown any MRI’s or x-rays that were used as a basis for diagnosis, he said.

“I didn’t really see any of the x-rays. I was really just kind of told what was going on. A couple of notes that the doctor told me were that my lungs were pretty beat up from the entire process. When he says ‘beat up’ he means there was quite a bit of trauma there just from the ECMO removal of the clots.”

“One of the doctors did say that he’d never seen pictures of a human with so many internal hematomas,” said Pietrack. “Basically, internal bruises.”


Blood clots were removed

“I’m going to get released tomorrow, but I’ve been here almost a month,” Pietrack said on December 6th, 2021.

“There’s a little bit of fame involved with me here at the hospital,” he said. “Most of the doctors are just blown away by the situation I was in and how it’s worked out now. I’ll make a full recovery after basically presenting myself as a dead person and them having to do what they did, which was nothing short of a miracle.”

“What they were capable of doing, and how fast they were able to do it.”

“Putting me on life support. Even when I died, being able to bring me back a few times.”

“Everything that they were able to do and get done. Anywhere else in the country, I would’ve been not able to get that same kind of care. But somehow, some way I wind up here, without even knowing, it was the only place that could save me.”

“It worked out great.”

“I don’t think they had anything that could deal with the possibility of clots in lungs. I think there were a few holes that Mercy Medical Center had. I don’t know what those were.”

“All I know is that they were like, “hey we need to Flight for Life you; We’re trying our best.” And they did their best and got me to a place that could help.”

“I’ve been walking for just a couple of days.”

“I was in a lot of pain for weeks,” he said. “I’m just now gaining the ability to walk again.”

Gofundme Fundraiser set up for Andrew Pietrack Family Medical Fund

A Gofundme online fundraiser has been set up to help Andrew Pietrack and his family get through this difficult time.

To donate, visit the Gofundme fundraiser for the Andrew Pietrack Family Medical Fund.

Adam Howell is a writer who believes in free press and the importance of the constitution. He can be reached by clicking on this link to the contact page.


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