The Florida alligator trapper known to Chicagoans as “Alligator Robb” will have a more complicated surgery done than initially expected.
The procedures will be life-saving, according to Robb, and could begin before the end of the year.
Frank Robb left a lasting impact on Chicago in 2019 after a days-long effort to trap and catch an alligator, later named "Chance the Snapper," in Chicago’s Humboldt Park lagoon.
But last week, a CT scan revealed more complications surrounding his chest.
“My sternum is actually pushing up against my heart, kind of has it pressed in half,” Robb said. “One of my lungs is compressed as well.”
The wildlife trapper said doctors will have to implant three metal bars across his chest, on top of the heart valve operation. Doctors will also cut through scar tissue from a major chest operation Robb had at just five years old.
Recovery time is expected to be more than 12 weeks. It’s been a challenge finding a team of doctors willing to do the high risk operation on Robb, but on Monday he was scheduled to speak with doctors at a North Florida hospital.
It’s the same hospital that operated on him 35 years ago when he was a child.
“The outpouring of love, it’s unbelievable. You’re getting me choked up talking about it,” Robb said.
The surgery is expected to cost up to $500,000, according to Robb, who doesn't have health insurance.
The trapper has expressed his gratitude for Chicagoans who’ve helped raise more than $42,000 on his GoFundMe page. Robb says the money will go to medical bills and time away from work during recovery.
“I should be a little more nervous than I am, but I truly believe the good Lord has given me some peace about it,” Robb said. “I’ll be paying it back forever. I’ll be paying back the love you guys have shown me, forever. It’s unbelievable.”