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It’s a Happy Father’s Day when a son’s homework saves dad’s life; Hunter and Greg Brown celebrate

By Berry Craig
Special to NKyTribune

Father’s Day is extra-special for one Lexington family this year. Greg Brown is alive to celebrate, because his son’s schoolwork saved his life.

Reason to celebrate: Hunter Brown and his dad, Greg (Photo provided)

MedQuest College student Hunter Brown was just trying to get some extra practice when he scanned his father’s heart last summer – but he found a life-threatening condition that required urgent surgery.

Brown will be graduating next month with an associates’ degree in MedQuest College’s sonography/echocardiography program, which includes doing ultrasound scans of the heart.

Saving lives is just part of the job, but Brown didn’t know he would save a life before he even graduated – or that it would be his dad’s.

“Everyone in my program we use for practice has a healthy heart,” Hunter said. “I wanted to get someone new and different to practice on.”

His dad agreed to come in for an exam. But the exam was more than either of them expected. As Hunter collected views of the heart, he immediately noticed something was wrong.

His dad, however, didn’t realize anything was amiss. He even tried to take selfies during the exam. “I like to joke around. I kept joking around with him, asking why he was so serious?,” Greg said. “I even said, if I knew you were going to be like this, I wouldn’t come.”

He was lucky he did. Because Hunter was seeing clear, serious calcification in his dad’s aortic valve.

“I knew he had aortic stenosis,” Hunter said. “I brought my instructor in for confirmation.”

His instructor confirmed that it was a critical issue and he needed to be examined by a physician. Within two weeks, Greg Brown underwent open-heart surgery, including a bypass, valve replacement and a pacemaker

“It still does not feel real to this day – but it makes me feel like I’ve done something, accomplished something, that I’ve done something important, “ Hunter said. “I’m very thankful to MedQuest College.”

“This is what it’s all about,” said Russell Mauk, campus director of MedQuest’s Lexington Campus. “We know that our students save lives every day, but this is one story that really warms the heart.”

This is the first Father’s Day since Hunter discovered his Dad’s condition. Next month is the one-year anniversary of his treatment – and Hunter’s graduation. The family has plans to spend a relaxing Father’s Day together and next month, his extended family plans to gather for a larger celebration of Greg Brown’s recovery and good health.

“Of course, you’re always proud of your son,” said Greg Brown. “But now I’m really thankful that he chose the career he did – and is so good at it!”

And more good news – Hunter recently learned he is expecting his second child. So next Father’s Day will be even more exciting.

“It means everything,” Greg said. “I’m going to get to be here this year for Father’s Day to enjoy my family because of him – four grandkids and one on the way. It’s amazing. It’s life-changing for my family.”

“It hasn’t yet sunk in what’s happened,” Hunter said. “People keep saying that I saved his life – I just feel proud to have done something, accomplished something, helped contribute to something important,” Hunter said.

MedQuest College has locations in Louisville and Lexington and offers degrees and diplomas in allied health careers, including medical and dental assisting as well as practical nursing and medical equipment repair.

“Heart disease has always run on my Dad’s side,” said Hunter. “We lost my grandfather to heart disease and I lost my brother because of a rare, congenital heart defect. I’ve always had a passion for healthcare. This experience with my Dad helped me know that I’m studying the right thing.”

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