Atlantic City’s Bob McDevitt Tells Us His Story: Amputation & More
It was one of the most extraordinary, raw, and real-life interviews that you will ever hear and it took place this morning, (Monday, February 14, 2022) with Bob McDevitt, President of UNITE-HERE Local 54.
If you missed it, use your WPG Talk Radio 95.5 app and the entire interview is available on demand.
The rules for this interview were simple. There were no rules. McDevitt told me that I could ask any question that I wanted to and that he would provide answers to each.
In case you don’t know, Bob McDevitt almost died 7 1/2 months ago. He came as close to dying as you can. In fact, McDevitt did die a few times and was resuscitated and brought back each time.
If you didn’t read our previous column about Bob from a few weeks ago, here is a link:
Until our on-air interview this morning, no details about what actually happened to Bob had ever been made public.
It was only generally understood that Bob had been hospitalized and that it was very serious.
The last time that I saw Bob was on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. We spent the 8:00 a.m. hour together and it was very hard-hitting about various deficiencies by the local government in Atlantic City.
Bob was strong. He looked healthy and he felt great. Just a few weeks later, everything changed and McDevitt was fighting for his life.
On June 16, 2021, knowing that Bob was now in a medically induced coma, near-death, and couldn’t read it … I texted him the following:
When you see this ... You'll know how hard that I'm praying for you.
Keep fighting with all you've got.
Your family and friends need you.
On August 6, 2021, Bob called me. I can’t properly describe the feeling of hearing his voice. It was amazing. We were talking like nothing had happened.
I do know this. The power of prayer works. We had a large listener prayer chain working hard for Bob.
Bob and I had a great conversation, where Bob told me everything that had happened to him over the previous 2 months. Since he was in such grave condition, much of it had to be told to him months later.
Bob’s wife Juliet, his elder son Patrick and others were extraordinary during Bob’s serious medical ordeal.
Patrick protected his Father’s privacy with great skill and commitment. It was awesome to personally observe this.
I never went public with the details. We agreed that after his recovery was complete, we would tell the entire story together on-air.
That day was today. To hear Bob tell his story of survival was inspiring, profound, and surreal - all mixed into one.
Bob has survived something that few in life are ever given the opportunity to talk about it.
Bob survived a fast-spreading blood infection, aggressive sepsis, and a stroke.
McDevitt faced the likely prospect of multiple amputations. In the end, Bob’s left leg and his hands were spared by God’s blessing “and the extraordinary health care that I received at The University of Pennsylvania.
McDevitt also credited Shore Medical Center for having him airlifted to The University of Pennsylvania. This likely saved McDevitt’s life, when they recognized that McDevitt needed an even greater skill set beyond their capabilities.
Bob did have his right foot amputated at just above the ankle level. He has been fitted with a prosthetic foot and has worked through extensive therapy and the acclimation process to be able to stand and walk, again.
On-air and during the many discussions that we have had about this and more, Bob has taken all of it in stride.
Bob is so grateful to be alive; having the opportunity to still be with his family (wife Juliet and young son Thomas James, age 2 1/2).
Imagine the motivation, the will to live that comes with having a young son and not wanting him to be left without his Father?
Bob was able to return to work as president of South Jersey’s largest union two weeks ago.
We talked about Bob’s 30 years of local activism and fighting Atlantic City Hall and how small all of that is when facing your own mortality.
McDevitt announced that he plans to meet with Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small and that he will strive to work on positive things that they can find common ground.
This would have been impossible 7 1/2 months ago when McDevitt was in a mindset to lead public efforts to remove Small from office along with the other city council members.
McDevitt plans on being a lover and a fighter. Bob detailed how he will continue to fight for his Local 54 members.
He talked about appreciating life like never before and the importance of being kind to one another.
This is a real-life story of survival and restoration. It makes all of the small stuff so irrelevant in the true game of life.
McDevitt now knows firsthand how precious and fleeting life really is. This renewed sense of urgency will power McDevitt’s life forever.
Atlantic City's Firsts Throughout History