97-year-old Fayetteville WWII vet becomes oldest patient to undergo TAVR surgery at Cape Fear Health

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A 97-year-old Fayetteville WWII veteran became the oldest patient at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center to undergo a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement.

Robert Davis, who's no stranger to adversity, underwent the heart surgery on April 22.

"I had four years in the Army and 22 in the Air Force," Davis said.

After the Pearl Harbor attack, an attack which Davis's own father survived, he joined the Army in December, 1942.

He later re-enlisted to be a part of the newly created Air Force.

There, Davis flew during the Korean and Vietnam War, transporting supplies.

Decades later, the veteran saw himself staring down another challenge: undergoing heart surgery in his late 90's.

"My condition was discovered two years ago. And over a period of time, it had become severe," Davis added.

Davis was on the brink of congestive heart failure, dealing with shortness of breath and the inability to walk for long periods of time.
As a result, he went to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center for the TAVR surgery. Davis's wife, Peggy, who is also a former nurse, was not able to be by his side because of the strict COVID-19 related guidelines.

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"People, I think, would not have done it with the COVID-19 scare; but, we decided it's better to get it done and for him to be in good health," Davis said.

The surgery was a success and Davis was released from the hospital on April 23.

While he knew the risk of being exposed to the virus, Davis says the medical personnel made him feel safe and properly separated him and other patients.

"I'm not running any races, but I'm much better than I was four or five days ago."

Now, the couple's doing their part to social distance and remain healthy.

For a man who's seen wars, financial collapses, and viruses in past decades, he tells others, "it's just another, just another bump in the road."

The couple encourages people to heed the advice of medical professionals and do what they can to stop the spread of the virus.
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