Doctor tips off cabbie to illness

From the Pioneer Press

Dr. Victor Tschida had an unusual tip for a cabdriver at the end of his ride Sunday night: Get to the emergency room; your heart is failing.

The St. Paul cardiologist was riding from the airport to United Hospital and noticed the driver was breathing rapidly and coughing. The cabbie, Mamo Assefa, 47, dismissed his ailment, but Tschida grew more concerned during the eight-mile drive as he asked Assefa about his health.

“I offered to drive the cab, but he chose not to let me do that,” Tschida said. He asked Assefa to stay off the interstate, then persuaded him to pull up to the United emergency room.

The Columbia Heights man was diagnosed with pulmonary edema, a severe form of heart failure. He was treated with medication and is recovering at United.

Turned out Assefa had forgotten medication he takes for high blood pressure during a recent trip to visit relatives. Tschida said the lack of medication for a week probably contributed to the man’s heart failure.