Stolen heart device returned to Unity man
Relief washed over Robert Baum on Friday afternoon when he found out the medical device his life depends on was returned.
The device had been missing since last weekend, believed to be stolen from his car, possibly while running errands. State police delivered the device to Baum's home, though it's unclear whether a police trooper or a passer-by spotted the bag along his Unity Township road.
“I really don't know what exactly happened, but I know it's back,” said Baum, 72.
And he's happy for that. The device controls the speed of his heart pump, which was implanted about three years ago.
“It's connected to the aorta and the heart. It's like a little jet pump. That controller controls the speed of that. ... Without that, the pump won't work,” Baum said. “If it quits working, my heart isn't strong enough.”
State police issued a report about the theft Thursday, saying the medical equipment was taken from Baum's unlocked vehicle. Police asked anybody with information to call the barracks.
The device that went missing was a spare, but it's crucial.
“The controller ... computer that I wear all the time — they can go bad at the snap of a finger, and you have to change it right away or you die,” he said.
The device costs between $25,000 and $30,000.
Baum traveled to a Pittsburgh hospital to pick up a controller and batteries he could borrow. He carries the back-up controller and batteries in his car in a bag that might be mistaken for a camera bag.
“My theory is they stole it because it looked like a camera bag. Then when they heard all this commotion about it in the paper, they decided they'd better return it,” Baum speculated. “It'd be of no value to anybody. You can't sell it; it has serial numbers all over it.”
The bag contained a prescription bottle bearing Baum's name.
If the bag had been sitting outside since it went missing, it would have been wet from snow and rain, Baum said. The returned bag, however, was “dry as a bone.”
Because it was dry, Baum figures somebody left it on his road.
Baum was working on his truck at Clearview Auto near Latrobe on Friday when his wife called with the happy news.
“It was a relief because my insurance company paid for it once,” Baum said, “and (I) sort of doubted if they'd pay for it again.”
Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Tenant charged in fire that destroyed Latrobe apartment house
- Southmoreland commencement scheduled for Friday evening
- Westmoreland County Transit Authority to consider raising bus fare rate for paratransit participants
- Ligonier Township K-9 officer home to recover from deadly collision
- Vandals ruin Ligonier Township farmers’ garden
- Ex-Delmont man found dead in Florida
- Westmoreland County Community College trustees approve $38M preliminary budget
- Foes of South Huntingdon gas-fired plant fight approval
- Hempfield train crash search called off; no evidence found
- Motorcyclist killed after striking pole in Penn Township
- Hempfield hires finance director