In what has been a roller-coaster week for Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Bruce Furniss, he has been cleared to leave the hospital after suffering a major heart attack almost 2 weeks ago.
The 62-year old Furniss had a heart attack at about 2:00 AM on Sunday, March 29th and was admitted to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Orange, California. He was put into a medically induced coma to help protect his brain from the impacts of the heart attack, and in the 8 or 9 days his condition steadily improved.
There were some nerves on Tuesday of this week after Furniss underwent surgery to insert a defibrillator and he was sent to the ICU when there were “complications.”
But an entry by his brother Craig on Thursday on a CaringBridge site set up to track his progress came with a lift: Bruce Furniss has been cleared to leave the hospital. His breathing has improved, he is no longer in pain, and on Thursday he was able to get himself out of bed.
Full CaringBridge Entry:
Good News – Our prayers have been answered
We just heard from Sharon that Bruce is coming home today! It has been another rapid recovery in this roller-coaster experience. Sharon reported this morning she received a call from Bruce this morning: “Sharon, if they and you don’t discharge me, I will sign myself out.” Bruce said he is much better: no longer in pain and his breathing is much better. He even got himself out of bed this morning.
Sharon conferred with the doctors who said Bruce was “good to go”. Our husband, father, brother, uncle, cousin and friend is coming home! I give thanks to God.
Bruce Furniss won individual gold in the 200 free and a relay gold in the 800 free relay at the 1976 Olympic Games. In his career, he broke 10 world records and 19 American records, and won 11 AAU national titles and six NCAA event titles at USC. All of this came in the context of dealing with a debilitating arthritic condition in his back called ankylosing spondylitis that left him unable to even stand.
His older brother Steve Furniss won an Olympic bronze medal in 1972.