Shawana Mitchell and her fiancé, Joe Hedges, were regulars at Circleville’s VFW lodge poker nights, and, as they often did, joined the card-playing crowd one Friday evening in March 2021 with their friend Troy Fletcher.
The emergency squad arrived, and Joe was taken to Circleville’s Berger Hospital, then flown to Riverside Methodist in Columbus for emergency surgery.
Joe, 52, had suffered an aortic dissection, a tear in the inner layer of the body’s main artery. When Shawana saw him after surgery, his color had improved and she dared to hope. But brain swelling ensued, and Sunday morning, Joe’s family was called to the hospital.