The cardiologist who treated Dwamena before he died on the field speaks: “It was possible to save him, he decided”

The cardiologist who treated Dwamena before he died on the field speaks: “It was possible to save him, he decided”

“If the pacemaker had not been removed, Rafael would have survived,” says Professor Antonio Aso, a cardiologist at Miguel Servet Hospital in Zaragoza who treated Rafael Duamina. After the tragic death of the Ghanaian footballer at the Partizani Stadium in Tirana, during an Albanian championship match, the doctor spoke about the 28-year-old who was diagnosed with heart problems that would have prevented him from continuing to play. “He died for a respectable personal decision – said the doctor – it is the end of a sad and predictable story.” In a message toHerald of AragonThe Spanish doctor recalls that he met Dwamena in October 2019, when the footballer was playing for Real Zaragoza: “Dr. de los Martires from Real Zaragoza, was concerned about some dizziness that the player had experienced in recent matches, and asked for my evaluation. Months earlier, a small monitor had been placed under his skin and the recording was unequivocally clear that his symptoms were related to the severe ventricular arrhythmia that occurred during football games. Before I started explaining the results to him, I knew what meaning my words would have for this young African athlete, whose future as a footballer was waning.”

In 2020, Dr. Aso, in collaboration with the company’s medical staff, was able to convince Dwamena to implant a defibrillator “to at least guarantee his life, while at the same time advising them not to practice professional sports.” I insisted on the fact that as the disease progresses – the cardiologist added – at some point we will have to treat the origin of the arrhythmia by performing an ablation, but this requires keeping it alive, which is why the defibrillator was turned on. Necessary.” Aso recalls how Dwamena was “an exceptional boy, noble and with clean eyes. Without the air of a star. He put his trust in all of us, and after he implanted the defibrillator, he left Spain. Sometimes he would ask me for some specific advice, and I would respond.” “Willingly, even if I knew he wasn’t listening. He was determined to pursue his professional career above all else, and I ended up giving up hope of influencing him.”

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From Spain, Dwamena went to play in Austria, where he suffered another illness but was able to save himself thanks to a defibrillator: “Two years ago they told me that the defibrillator saved his life when he had a malignant arrhythmia that was properly treated. It is taken care of automatically by the device. We lost contact after that. A year ago, I learned from the press that he had asked for the pacemaker we had implanted to be removed, and that it was finally removed, I think in Switzerland. It was already late, his decision was irrevocable, and he placed all his responsibility on himself and on the will of the God in whom he believed. From that moment I knew that the tragedy that happened on Saturday in a football stadium in Albania would happen one day.”

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