Tim Russert, NBC News Washington bureau chief and the moderator of “Meet the Press” died after suffering a heart attack at the bureau. He was 58 years of age and rather young. What can we learn from this great reporter’s premature death?
Undoubtedly Russert without question was a phenomenal man, outstanding reporter, family man, and philanthropist. He gave of himself wholeheartedly to his family, church, poor children he supported, and his profession he excelled at for decades.
Tim had just returned from a family vacation in Rome, Italy, where he went to celebrate his son’s graduation from Boston College. While his wife and son remained in Rome, Russert returned to prepare for his Sunday television show. Some say Tim was driving himself hard and going on few hours of sleep, drinking quite a bit of coffee to sustain himself.
Russert’s longtime friend and physician, Dr. Michael Newman, said that his asymptomatic coronary artery disease he had was being being controlled with medication and exercise, and that he had performed well on a stress test. An autopsy performed on the day of his death determined that Tim’s history of coronary artery disease led to a myocardial infarction (heart attack) with the immediate cause being an occlusive coronary thrombus in the left anterior descending artery resulting from a ruptured cholesterol plaque.
Russert’s physician, Michael Newman, said cholesterol plaque ruptured in an artery, causing sudden coronary thrombosis.
Even if Tim were a workaholic or over worked man, that alone I don’t think would have caused him to have a heart attack. Burning the candle at both ends however, missing sleep, over doing the coffee, and taking meds is a dangerous (and in Tim’s case deadly) combination.
Nearly 100,000 Americans are killed each year by FDA-approved pharmaceuticals, according to the American Medical Association. Few of these deaths are reported as being caused by pharmaceuticals. That would hinder the profit margins of the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry. Instead the compliant media simply and quickly reports that the victim died of whatever biological malfunction was most noticeable at the time of death.
Beyond the fact Tim died of a “heart attack” it would be instructive to know what biological tipping point caused Russert’s heart failure could. I dare to say the meds Tim was taking very likely could have exacerbated and caused his heart attack.
Pharmaceuticals do not make anyone healthy, nor do they solve health problems. Drugs don’t cure disease necessarily as much as they control its symptoms. It is up to we the consumers to realize that we must be proactive in altering our lifestyle to ensure a cure that lasts. Otherwise we have no more than an illusion of health created by the drugs we take.
Most importantly we all need proper rest, sleep, exercise, and to eliminate medication that weakens our immune system altogether. As we are more proactive, even us type A personalities, we can proactively care for ourselves and eliminate harmful and deadly drugs.
The irony is we who are most driven to be productive, work, produce, and get results on the job often neglect our families who love us and our health that sustains us. Tim wisely cared for and wholeheartedly affectionately attended to his family. His health however seems to have been a bit neglected. For that we are saddened at the loss of such a great man.
In closing I read how Russert said that his father, a sanitation worker who never finished high school, “worked two jobs all his life so his four kids could go to Catholic school, and those schools changed my life.”
Russert knew sacrifice and was the beneficiary of his father’s hard work and sacrificial life. Tim gave his family, country, and the world his show no less. He will be greatly missed and always loved.