Cecilia DowdJul 19, 2018, 7:57 pmJul 20, 2018, 2:03 pm

95-year-old Holocaust survivor receives life-saving heart surgery

Jack Betteil says he wants the whole world to know that his doctor is a ‘lifesaver’


MANHASSET — A Holocaust survivor got a new lease on life at the age of 95, thanks to a procedure at North Shore University Hospital.

Aortic stenosis left Jack Betteil constantly winded. The fatigue was not fitting for this 95-year-old man who speaks and seemingly lives with gusto and energy. His valve needed to be replaced. For a long time, the only option was to do it through open heart surgery. But thanks to Dr. Bruce Rutkin whom he calls a magician, he had what's called a TAVR procedure, a transcatheter valve replacement.

“You're a lifesaver and I think the whole world should know about it,” Betteil said to Dr. Rutkin on Thursday.

The Holocaust survivor from Poland was taken from his parents when he was just 16.

“I think I survived partially because of my good sense of humor. I would make fun out of anybody. I'm talking about the Nazis. I would describe each Nazi, call him a different name to myself or my buddy,” he said.

After the war, he wound up in the United States where he worked as a TV repairman.

With his sense of humor still intact, he says his goal is to live to 100 because his barber promised him a free haircut.

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