"Great To Have The Best"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, November 10, 2017

Many of us are facing major medical problems.

We look for what appears to be medical miracles and are amazed when we find them. Long lines are forming to receive such miracles.

Advancements in the fields of medicine are occurring faster than the patients who are being served can keep up with. Surgical options expand rapidly and new surgeries, unheard of only a few months ago, are being performed daily. It is seldom that a new procedure fails. In the past, failures were quite common.

Today's surgeons are specialist and many work in groups. I was recently directed to visit a specific cardiologist at Henry Ford Hospital who was said to be "renowned" in his field. I have to define the word used to describe him because it really covers what I encountered.

The definition of renowned is: Famous, acclaimed, distinguished, prominent, known far and wide, well-thought of and celebrated.

I was told the physician I would see was capable of correcting a heart problem I had been experiencing since I was a small boy.

I learned there would be a very lengthy wait to get an appointment with the doctor it was suggested I visit. My local primary care doctor, however, was an associate of the cardiologist so with his assistance, I was able to get an early appointment.

During my first visit to his office, he agreed with numerous doctors regarding the type of surgery I would need.

All of the doctors I encountered, down through the years, would comment after listening to my heart, "Someday you will need a valve job."

After taking his turn to listen, the doctor was amazed that I had been able to wait so long. He explained it would take two procedures to complete my heart valve replacement. I had numerous test done and was given a date for the first of two surgeries I would require.

The first procedure took only a few hours and in two days, I was back home. I had learned there was an extensive team of doctors participating in my surgery. They had met and discussed the second phase of my valve replacement, which was to take place in four to six weeks. A week after I returned home, Pat went in for a routine heart catheterization procedure which she has done every few years. This time it was not so routine — she had to have triple vessel by-pass, a really big deal.

The good news was she too was able to have a renowned surgeon do her heart repair.

I continued my wait while visiting Pat in the hospital and was happy to have her back home while the rest of the time passed. I was contacted and told my doctors determined a problem could be encountered if the standard valve placement was made. They asked that I have additional testing done so they could use an alternative procedure, which would involve adding additional doctors to my team.

The surgeon who would perform the initial placement of my new valve through my carotid artery was yet another renowned physician. Because of the type of surgery I underwent, strong anesthesia was necessary, which was troublesome. I was still able to go home after only two days, and Pat and I are both working on a full recovery, which I will tell you about in my next column.

As I see it, if there is a group of doctors gathered around you for a surgery and one of them is renowned, they may spot a small event occurring that could be disastrous if gone unnoticed. We both feel extremely fortunate to have been able to have world famous physicians work on our hearts. I really don't think the cost is affected by their reputations. I assume they get paid the same as their colleagues. It just was a real comfort as we went through a couple of life-threatening surgeries to know we had the very best working on us.

Speaking of the best — as you read your paper this weekend, reflect that Nov. 11 is a day set aside since 1918 at the end of World War I to honor our veterans. Let's all appreciate the great contributions made by them on our behalf. If you encounter a veteran, you may wish to thank them for their service. I know I do.

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