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Plainview man leaves behind legacy of information

By Jeff Hansel

jhansel@postbulletin.com

PLAINVIEW — Jared Neumann went home in 1981 a happy, healthy baby.

He remained a positive thinker for the rest of his 25 years of life, a life that was affected by heart trouble and, years later, an infection that would kill him.

"Jared became ill with a virus when he was 17 days old," said his mother, Roxann.

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His heart became swollen. At the same time, he developed a complete block of his body’s electrical pathway. To treat it, a cardiac pacemaker was implanted, making him what many believe was Mayo Clinic’s first pediatric pacemaker patient.

Dr. David Driscoll, a Mayo Clinic pediatric cardiologist who treated Neumann his whole life, wrote a report about Neumann that appeared in the journal Clinical Cardiology.

"There aren’t many people we write papers about," Driscoll said.

Treatment resolved the swelling in Jared’s heart. He lived the rest of his life with gusto, despite continuing heart problems.

"If he hadn’t had a pacemaker, he would have died. He would have died that day," Driscoll said.

After stabilizing Jared, doctors eventually implanted the electronic device that gave Jared’s heart a normal beat: a permanent pediatric pacemaker.

Jared continually surprised his large team of medical providers, who at first thought he would not survive, then thought he wouldn’t make it to grade school, and eventually thought he would never drive or graduate from high school.

But he did all of those things, and more, until an infected electrical lead inside his chest, running to his pacemaker, needed to be removed.

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The vessel in which it had become encased — similar to the way a tree grows over a piece of wire — was not strong enough for the operation, and Jared Neumann died at the age of 25.

Throughout his life, Neumann participated in clinical trials and served as a living testament to the power of pacemakers. Doctors continue to learn from him, even in death.

"I use his case all the time to talk to medical students about his presentation — medical students and residents and fellows," Driscoll said.

Medical teams met within three weeks of his death to review the case.

"The majority of the discussion," Driscoll said, "was how do you change things so the outcome the next time is better?"

More DRISCOLL, A8

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