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Ron's Heart Surgery Story

by Ron Kennedy

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I credit the quick action of staff and easy coordination of resources, doctors and surgeons from Susquehanna Health’s Heart & Vascular Institute for my prompt, lifesaving treatment, says Ron Kennedy.

Arriving at Williamsport Regional Medical Center at 7:30 am on October 1, 2013, I planned to “knock out” my stress test before heading to work. The day took a decidedly different turn, resulting in me undergoing quadruple heart bypass surgery that afternoon.

 I was always athletic, but I admittedly slowed down over time and recently I had been diagnosed with diabetes.

Despite my condition, I stayed busy working, fishing, spending time with my six grandchildren and helping manage one of my grandson’s baseball teams. Shortness of breath and a noticeable decrease in stamina sent me to my family doctor, who referred me for the stress test.

I struggled during the test and wasn’t surprised when the administering nurse called for cardiologist Dr. Mohammad Shafique. Within five minutes, Dr. Shafique arrived to check my test results, which indicated insufficient blood flow to my heart. Dr. Shafique alerted interventional cardiologist Dr. Donald Nardone, who was ready to meet me in the Cardiac Catheterization Lab by 9 am.

During the diagnostic catheterization, Dr. Nardone discovered that one of my arteries was 100 percent blocked and the other three were 66 percent blocked. Consulting with Dr. Mark Osevala, a cardiothoracic surgeon, they determined I needed quadruple bypass surgery. Dr. Nardone placed a balloon pump near my heart to help it beat more efficiently while Dr. Osevala’s team prepared for surgery. By 1 pm, my lifesaving bypass procedure had begun.  

While my plans for the day changed rapidly, I was totally at ease with the quality of care I was receiving and was even pleased to see some familiar faces among my caregivers. I had the best care Williamsport Regional Medical Center had to offer. I was totally blessed the whole way through.

As I recovered in my hospital room, with my son and daughter by my side, I was continually impressed by the doctors, nurses and staff who were providing my care. It just blew me away. The knowledge and competence of the nurses and sta­ff were so great. I can’t emphasize enough how well we were all treated.

I was discharged six days after surgery, and about six weeks later I began participating in Champs, Susquehanna Health’s outpatient cardiac rehabilitation program. At Champs, I exercised under the supervision of cardiac nurses who monitored my blood pressure and blood sugar levels. I also learned about lifestyle modifications I could make to ensure a safe return to an active lifestyle.

Back at work and spending plenty of time with his grandchildren, I am feeling better than I have in a long time. The exercise is definitely something I want to keep up with. I had been so dormant, so it’s taking some time to regain strength, but I feel like I’m 50 again. People tell me I look great, and I feel better than I look!

- Ron Kennedy, Montoursville