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"Cardiology Patient Felt Like Family"

Jeffrey R. knew his diagnoses was serious – a damaged heart valve that needed to be repaired – but looking back on the experience, he now recalls feeling remarkably at ease.
Because from his first interactions with Mercy cardiothoracic surgeon Fayyaz Hashmi, MD, through to the moment he woke up from surgery, Jeff said he was made to feel like family.
“It wasn’t like going for an operation. Everyone treated me there like they had known me for years. They made me feel so comfortable,” said Jeff, now 46, of his January, 2011, surgery at the Heart Vascular Center at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center.
Jeff said his first indication of trouble was when he felt his heart “wigging out” and noticed that his lips were turning purple. Only 44 years old at the time and working third-shift at Ford Motor Company, he knew something was wrong.
After consulting with cardiologist Tarif Kanaan, MD, of Toledo Cardiology Consultants, Jeff was referred to Dr. Hashmi. Jeff sought out a second opinion elsewhere in Michigan. But it was Dr. Hashmi’s desire to use a minimally invasive technique and the physician’s confidence in the prognosis that gave Jeff all the assurance he needed and led him back to Toledo.
Within 30 days of his first encounter with Dr. Hashmi, Jeff traveled from his Lenawee County home to Toledo for surgery to repair his heart with a steel band.
Jeff said that his three adult children live out of state but came to Toledo for the surgery. After they learned his operation was a success, they left him in the care of the St. V’s staff. And although during his subsequent recovery Jeff was alone, he was never lonely. The nursing staff treated him like family and helped keep him upbeat.
“I didn’t feel like I was there by myself without family,” he said. After several days recovering in the hospital, Jeff underwent a month of cardio rehabilitation. Now he’s back at life, renovating his farm house in Palmyra.
“Dr. Hashmi told me that he wasn’t going to let me down and he didn’t,” Jeff said.
“People look at me and say, ‘You’re such a young guy, how do you have heart problems?’” he added. “My answer is that it doesn’t matter how old you are.”

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