Councilman Wendell Young recovering from heart surgery

Cincinnati City Council member has emergency surgery (WKRC)

CLIFTON, Ohio (WKRC) - Cincinnati city councilman Wendell Young is recovering in the hospital after emergency surgery to repair damage to his aorta.

Young was hospitalized last Thursday and rushed into surgery that evening for an acute aortic dissection. The condition can be fatal if not treated quickly. It's caused by a tear in the wall of the aorta which allows blood to flow into a new path. It can cause the aorta to rupture which will kill a person.

"It's been hard. We were caught off-guard," said Kathy Young, Wendell's wife.

Former Mayor Dwight Tillery said during a phone call last week, Young said he didn't feel well.

"He said 'I just hurt.' And I said where are you hurting? And he says 'I just don't know.' And I said, well you need to go ahead and take care of yourself," Tillery recalled.

About 10 minutes later, Tillery said he called Young back and his wife answered and said she was driving him to the hospital.

"It's a big operation. Post-op recovery is slow but Mr. Young has had the usual issues and has recovered well from them. We're expecting a full recovery," said Dr. Steven Park, a thoracic surgeon at Good Samaritan Hospital.

Actors John Ritter, Alan Thicke and Lucille Ball died after suffering an aortic dissection. Catching it quickly is crucial to survival, so Young was lucky.

"He's doing wonderful. He's recovering, he's actually ahead of recovery. So we just thank everybody so all we would ask is for your prayers," said Allison Hunter, Wendell Young's daughter.

The family held a press conference Wednesday morning to discuss Young's condition. But it was clear poltics and the upcoming council and school board elections were on the minds of the Youngs.

"He [Wendell Young] said 'tell them that I'm still in the race for council'. He wants to be back on. He wants your prayers but he also wants your vote and I told him I would share that," Kathy said.

Dr. Park said Young could be discharged from the hospital late this week or early next. His family said he's in good spirits and has been cracking jokes.

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