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BRG Survivor Series: Former Baton Rouge Police Chief uses his story to spread awareness about heart disease

4 months 2 weeks 3 days ago Monday, February 05 2024 Feb 5, 2024 February 05, 2024 2:54 PM February 05, 2024 in BRG Survivor Series
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Jeff LeDuff is known for being tough. Serving as Chief of the Baton Rouge Police Department for six years from 2004-2010, Chief LeDuff has been featured on WBRZ numerous times during his tenure, but this time he joined us to talk about heart health.

“My father died at 59 and nine months, so it always made me aware of my heart. I started going to my cardiologist when I was young, I would participate in the stress test and all of that, and I thought, you know, maybe I wasn’t going to be that guy. Maybe I wasn’t going to be the one in my family that had heart disease.. and along comes 2020,” LeDuff said.

It was just another day in December when Jeff started decorating his house for the Christmas season. While finishing up he felt nauseous but ignored it until his wife Cassandra noticed something was wrong.

“I knew it was something with him. I wasn’t sure that, you know, it was his heart, but I knew he didn’t look good,” she said.

“She said, "You don’t look right. You don’t look like yourself.” And I said, “Well you don’t look like yourself either,” I mean I thought she was talking a shot at me, right? And so she said, “We have to go to the hospital,” he said.

Even once he got to the hospital, Jeff said he was hesitant to go inside.

“My cardiologist is also a friend, Dr. LaMotte. He’s right there at the General, he’s part of that system and we called him. I say, "Hey man, listen, Sandy thinks I’m having a heart attack." So he says, "What are you feeling?" And I kind of told him and he said, "Man you need to come in." I said, "Well, I'm in the parking lot." He said, "Well, I can't help you in the parking lot. You've got to come in." And so with the two of them urging, I went in," he said.

Jeff had a singular blockage that required surgery immediately.

“I had what’s called a LIMA procedure. I have an artery to artery bypass. Most people have a small vein they take out of your leg and you take a small vessel and they connect it to a larger vessel. I don’t have that, I have a superhighway. So they took my mammary artery and connected it to my left interior descending artery to build me a little superhighway,” he said.

“Dr. Keller did the surgery and he and I have become friends. And, you know, we were doing a talk together one day and and there's an old thing when you're talking about people, you say, that person touched my heart, right? So we were talking and I was introducing him to someone else. And I told him, I said, "Hey, listen, this guy touched my heart." And they're like, "Oh," I said, "No, you don't get it. He really touched my heart, you know?" So I thank those two guys, I thank the whole Baton Rouge General, they kept me in ICU and they protected me,” he said.

Now three years later, Jeff uses his story to encourage those who are hesitant to get the help they need in order to survive.

“My heart attack happened on the 3rd of December. And at the very same time, I had a cousin in California having a heart attack the same day. The difference between the two, I had somebody who urged me to go to the hospital. I don't think he did. He didn't make it so we got to not be hardheaded. We got to know that we're not invincible. We have to know that things happen to you. Even if you are proactive. The signs are always not the same. It's not what's written in the textbook. But if somebody tells you, or if you have that sense that something is critical, my request to you is just act on it. Go and let the professionals tell you. Yes, I know. And I thank God that I was urged to go and that I did,” he said. 

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