KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Friends of one metro firefighter said he's always ready to help others.
Now, the people who know Daniel Hashman, a Kansas City, Kansas Firefighter, said medical experts are coming to his rescue.
You can't blame Hashman for fearing for his life. The KCK firefighter said he was awake early Sunday for morning mass, which he and his loved ones attend even when they`re on vacation at places such as Lake of the Ozarks.
Hashman said the intense pain, which dropped him to his knees, felt like he was passing a kidney stone. Instead, there was a tear forming in the aorta, the artery that leads into his heart. The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the human body.
Instead, a series of doctors including the ones at University of Kansas Health System, found he`d suffered a tear in his aorta. Hashman was taken by air ambulance from a hospital at Lake of the Ozarks to another in Springfield, Missouri before being sent home to Kansas City in an ambulance.
"My ascending aorta, right where the main vessel comes out of your heart," Hashman said, pointing to his chest. "It dissected all the way down."
This concern is twice as scary for Hashman, who said it was only four years ago that he had open heart surgery to repair a cardiac aneurysm. Hashman, who has worked for six years as a firefighter and emergency medical tech, is deeply religious. On Tuesday, he credited his faith in God as being a factor in his well-being.
"If it weren't for all the prayers, I don't think I'd be here right now. There were a few times in the transport, I was coming to terms with this maybe being the end," Hashman said.
Meghan Dowell, Hashman's girlfriend, said the couple had been scared to death. Dowell is a nursing student, one with knowledge of heart conditions, including the one from which Hashman recovered four years beforehand. As it stands, Hashman has undergone two heart-related surgeries for this latest trouble and another awaits him, perhaps on Wednesday.
"It's hard being on the other side of this and not being able to do anything," Dowell said.
"He's a saint," Tanner Pflumm, Hashman's best friend, told FOX4. "He's very giving. If he knows you're going through a tough time, he'll make sure he has something to help you out with. There's not a bad bone in his body."
Hashman and his loved ones said he`s expected to be in the hospital for another week. His family members said they're hopeful he`ll be able to go back to work eventually. They say good medical care and prayers will get him there. People closest to Hashman set up this GoFundMe page, where family members are hopeful to help him cover his growing medical bills.