July 4th – Independence Day 2015: A call for a Cardiac RevolutionTM
Every morning when I wake up, I count my blessings. My biggest blessings are my employees, and each one of them individually deserves mention. Each of them is a person of valor, but I will shine the spotlight on just one today because her actions remind me of the actions of our Nation’s forefathers during the time of the American Revolution.
On April 7, 2015, Marissa, one of our lead echocardiography technicians, told me that her grandfather, a proud and once strong matador, did not look well. She stated that he appeared like some of our patients preparing to have a heart procedure. I asked Marissa to bring her grandfather into the office immediately; however, several of her extended family members were refusing to send him for an evaluation. In spite of this, Marissa remained persistent, continuing to sound the alarm and promised that she would bring him to the office. It was then that I was reminded of Paul Revere, who so many years ago had warned the colonists by shouting out while riding through their communities that danger was approaching. After repeated attempts, Marissa’s voice was finally heard and she brought her grandfather into the office.
I examined her grandfather and it was apparent that he needed immediate care. After a variety of cardiac diagnostic procedures he was found to have near complete blockages of all of his coronary arteries. One of his arteries, the so-called “widow-maker,” had extremely poor flow and was on the verge of closing. This condition, if left untreated, would have undoubtedly ended his life. We performed the necessary procedures, and Marissa then stayed on guard and watched over her grandfather, insuring that he exercised routinely and ate properly. After several weeks, he made a full recovery. His diabetes and high blood pressure that were once poorly managed on multiple medications are now effectively under control with only three.
Unfortunately, over the years I have seen and heard all too many stories that did not end this way. In fact, thousands of people in the US die each day of cardiovascular disease that is nearly always avoidable. The devastation these events bring to a family is indescribable. Yet all these families could have a different story, one where people with the proper medical care are protected from these fatal situations. However, we must work together to accomplish this feat.
The year was 1985, and I was a medical student. This was the first time that I had to deliver the news to a patient that they had a 3.3% chance of living more than 5 years due to metastatic pancreatic cancer. What is even more disheartening is how a patient diagnosed 30 years later with this deadly cancer still has only a 7.6% chance of living more than 5 years. This is just one illustration of how very little advancement has been made in various aspects of the medical field. It is now time that we as a country stand up for change that will promote the lives of our loved ones. This is a call to action in a world-wide medical revolution.
Like Paul Revere, I must shout out that it is time for a Cardiac RevolutionTm in our country. Our famous quote in the office states that “only you can prevent heart disease.” Now it is time for this message to be heard around the world. I must have each and every one of you to commit effort to making a difference. If you know somebody who can write; if you know somebody who can tweet; if you know a college student who is aspiring to gain acceptance into medical school; or if, like Marissa, you know somebody who can be helped medically, I need you to make a difference. I can help perhaps 5, 10 or even 20 people per day, but it is you who can save the entire world. You can be the next Marissa and the next Paul Revere. We are not looking for financial assistance. We are looking for people who can get the word out; people who can shout out loud; people who do not take “No” for an answer.
If you want to be involved in this movement, CLICK HERE!