World War II Hero Beats the Odds Again - This is an amazing story of an incredible man saved by the latest technological advancements and the skill of ANS surgeon
Decorated WW II Hero Adolph Carbone proves he is not a statistic.
When 86-year-old Toms River resident Adolph Carbone was rushed to Saint Barnabas Medical Center with a ruptured brain aneurysm, the odds of survival were not in his favor. To save Mr. Carbone, Atlantic NeuroSurgical Specialists (ANS) neurosurgeon Dr. Ron Benitez would have to perform a Coil Embolization - a procedure normally performed by accessing the treatment area from within the blood vessel. Dr. Benitez reviewed the case with the family and explained that Adolph had suffered a hemorrhagic stroke as a result of the ruptured brain aneurysm. To save Adolph, Dr. Benitez would have to take many steps, including a challenging angiogram and endovascular coiling procedure, to eliminate blood flow into the aneurysm. Endovascular Coiling normally involves placing of a catheter (small plastic tube) into the femoral artery in the patient's leg. However in this case, it had to be done through the wrist, a first for Dr. Benitez. The coil is navigated through the vascular system, into the head and into the aneurysm. ANS performs more of these procedures than any other medical practice in New Jersey.
As Dr. Benitez explained the risks of the procedure, especially for an 86 year old man, Adolph's daughter spoke for the family. "We want you to go aggressive, do everything you can to save my father. He is not a typical 86 year old man." Can Adolph Carbone's life be described as normal? No. Indeed, his life has been a rollercoaster ride of many highs and lows. His luck could be compared to someone having been struck by lightning twice, a rare and random occurrence of misfortune; but in his life, it was the stroke of good luck, not lightning, that would save Adolph Carbone more than once in his lifetime.
Adolph Carbone was born in Newark, NJ, on April 29, 1925, the oldest child (he had a brother Vincent and a sister Patricia) to Patsy and Frances Carbone. At the age of 17, he enlisted in the US Army Air Corps with hopes of becoming a pilot. His dreams came true at the age of 18 when he was assigned to Captain Harold E. Lanning's crew and later assigned to the 491st bomb group 854 squadron based at North Pickenham, UK.
In Adolph's Army career, he would cheat death not once, but twice. First, on November 9, 1944, returning from a mission over Germany, his plane crashed, killing his close friend. Adolph's second brush with death occurred on November 2, 1944, when 190 enemy fighters greeted his squadron with a hail of bullets. A majority of the crew was either shot down or blown from the sky, including Carbone. Captain Lanning and his crew, including Carbone, bailed from the shot-down aircraft. Carbone recalls, "My first thought was to count to ten, then pull the ripcord. I got to three and found I could not raise my right arm to grasp the ripcord handle. I was frantic, but I did not lose my senses. As I was tumbling towards the earth I used my left hand to raise my right hand over the pull handle of the chute, but I had no strength to pull the cord. I then began to hit my right hand with my left and the chute finally opened. To this day, I believe it was more than my hands that opened that chute. Once the chute opened, I had a strong feeling that I was safe. As I got closer to the ground I tried to observe the terrain to decide whether to cross my legs or not. All of a sudden the ground was coming up fast. I landed in a soft patch surrounded by trees. I was unable to move."
Adolph had landed in Leuven, Belgium, a place, where much later in life he would be honored and memorialized for his bravery. During his recovery in Belgium, he underwent many surgeries followed by an extensive recovery period. At one point, his parents were even contacted and advised that their son's injuries were mortal and survival was unlikely; however, Adolph fought his way through his injuries and has been living the good life ever since.
Adolph was awarded the Silver Star, Purple Heart, and Air Medal for his dedication and bravery in the Army, but if you ask Adolph his greatest accomplishments in life, he would answer "my family". Adolph married Anne (need maiden name) in 1950, and they have five children, Patricia (Patti-Anne), Adolph Jr. (Butch), Michael, Kathleen and Annie, 18 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren with more on the way. His career path is an interesting journey, including owning amusement parks in Seaside Heights, NJ, studying and receiving his law degree, and teaching history to high school students for over twelve years.
When asked his feelings about Dr. Benitez, Adolph simply states, "He saved my life." Dr. Benitez's view on the case is different. "I may have helped save his life, but Adolph is unique," states Dr. Benitez. "Nine-hundred ninety nine people out of 1000 people would not have survived his scenario. After learning about Adolph, it is clear to me he has fight within him which all people should strive for in their lives. Adolph still has it. He is phenomenal."
For more information about Dr. Benitez or Atlantic NeuroSurgical Specialists, please visit www.atlanticneurosurgical.com or call 973.285.7800.