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'Michael is a Christmas Miracle' – doctors give firefighter a positive update after gloomy diagnosis

Posted at 1:47 PM, Nov 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-19 13:48:11-05

RITTMAN, Ohio — After being admitted to the hospital for heart surgery after doctors thought they discovered a serious heart condition while treating a bacterial infection, a Rittman firefighter will be saved from open-heart surgery after doctors found the valve was not as damaged as they thought.

The Rittman community rallied around Michael “Tiny” Riding after a serious infection that started in his foot spread through his body. While being treated for the infection, doctors thought they discovered an alarming blockage in Riding’s heart that would require open-heart surgery.

On Tuesday, Riding’s family posted an updated to Facebook — the doctor told them: “Michael is a Christmas Miracle.” The doctors performed a pre-operative examination of Riding’s heart and found it was functioning at 100%. When the infection went away, the valve went back to normal, and they had no reason to perform the surgery. The blockage will be fixed with heart catherization over the next couple of days.

“Many tears of joy were shed,” the family’s post states. “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the prayers. They truly worked. Michael is going to be just fine.”

RELATED: Rittman rallies to help firefighter with serious heart condition revealed after infection