Doctor, Patient Reunite 59 Years After Life-Saving Surgery

You'll hear about patients seeking out the doctors who saved their lives to say "thank you," but it's not often that search lasts nearly 60 years.

But Oak Cliff native Dennis Fastnachd had long held the hope of being able to thank his lifesaver.

In 1957 when he was just 11, Fastnachd recalls playing with two friends on a day when his parents were out, and he began bragging to them about learning to shoot with his father.

Fastnachd said that would lead to him getting out his father's shotgun and shells to show off a little more.

"A very stupid thing that a young boy did at the age of 11," said Fastnachd recalling the story.

Eventually, one of the friends asked to touch the gun and it did not go well. Fastnachd ended up getting shot in the abdomen.

The young boy called for help and was rushed to Methodist Dallas Medical Center, where Dr. Wayne Gossard, a Korean War veteran and hospital surgeon, came in.

After a lot of work – and Fastnachd said some very bad outlooks at times – Gossard put him back together and got the boy back up and moving in time.

"The man saved my life. There's no question about it," said Fastnachd.

As he grew up, Fastnachd eventually got married and moved to Kansas City, where he went into a successful career, but over the years he said his thoughts would go back to that kind Dallas surgeon who saved him.

Then, over the last few months he mentioned the doctor's name to some friends still living in North Texas, and by chance, one of them had connections to Gossard.

Now 95 years-old, but still living just a few miles from Methodist Hospital, Gossard said the call from Fastnachd was a surprise.

He admits after all these years, he remembers little about that night repairing the boy, but he said he welcomed the chance to check up on the former patient.

So after a lot of planning, Fastnachd and his wife made the trip back to Dallas on Friday and sat down across a coffee table to reminisce with their hero.

"If you'll come back every 59 years, you'll be most welcome," joked Gossard.

Fastnachd said he often didn't imagine the reunion would ever happen, but he couldn't stop smiling as he thanked the retired surgeon and took a picture with the man who will always be his hero.

The two also got to tour the new ER and trauma center at Methodist, which looked much different than their last encounter there.

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