Monthly Letters to Pulmonary Patients by Thomas L. Petty

Thomas L. Petty, M.D.

Professor of Medicine, 
University of Colorado

Chairman, National Lung Health Education Program (NLHEP)


National Lung Health Education Program
A collaborative project with



HealthOne Center
1850 High Street
Denver, CO 80218
Phone: 303 839 6755
Fax: 303 832 8137

Triple Jeopardy

May 2003

Second Wind
Lomita, California

Dear Friends;

     There is a concept in law called double jeopardy. Double jeopardy means that a person cannot be tried for the same crime twice.  This may work in law, but it doesn't in medicine.  Many times we need to revisit the same problem over and over again.  Unfortunately, this is the case with me.  On May 13th, I will have my third open heart surgery!

     I had my first heart operation urgently performed in February of 1992, just after Valentine's Day.  I needed a three-vessel bypass.  I developed angina in the Frankfurt Airport, returning to Denver from Barcelona.  An angiogram of my heart showed severe narrowing of three vessels.  I recovered from this only to find out that I had severe leakage of the mitral valve between the left upper chambers and lower.  In June 1998, I had a valve repair rather than a replacement because the surgeon felt that a repair would be preferable.   However, now it is broken down and I now need a valve replacement because of severe leakage and compromise of my heart future.

     I will have this on May 13th at St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota in the Mayo Clinic Program.  I am very confident that my surgeon will be able to do a good job and hopefully I will be able to get back on my feet and continue these letters.  I'll appreciate your care and concern, and your prayers would be more than welcome.

     I hope to be in touch next month..

Your friend,

Thomas L. Petty, M.D.
Professor of Medicine, UCHSC
Co-Chairman, National Lung Health Education Program

Last update:
8 May 2003