The year was 1942. My father’s father, Meir Nuri, the man who I am named after, underwent a “minor procedure” in Iraq. Complications ensued immediately after the procedure and, as a result, my grandfather lost his life the very next day. My father was now in charge of raising his ten young siblings. His mother was very loving but her husband had been the one in charge of the finances. My father wept without end. At age 16 his best friend, the center of his universe, was gone. He walked out of the hospital and knelt on the sand. Drawing a puzzle made up of 12 pieces, similar to the 12 tribes of Israel, he then removed the center piece of the puzzle. The piece that represented his father. Sitting up all night, terrified and sobbing, he tried to figure out how to rebuild that puzzle on his own. In the morning he got up and decided to change his life. He left school and started to work, at times, 20 hours per day, to support his brothers, sisters, and mother. He promised himself that he would make sure that each of his siblings would receive an education and get married before he would consider his job complete.

Twenty years ago today, the doors to the Cardiovascular Institute opened. As my father stood proudly on that day, in that first small office, he recounted the events of the night after his father had passed. Our mission, like his, would be to keep all of the families of our patients together. To keep the puzzle of each family that puts its trust in us together. That is our mission.

As I stand here today, I cannot be more proud of what we have accomplished. After years of work from morning to night, and on occasion 24 hours a day, we have assembled a team of people of whom I am extremely proud. “The best people in the world,” my father always says.  From my father, who built and currently manages the office, to my colleague, Ramiro, to Bhagat, Martha, Tatyana, Vladimir, Leslie, Mariana, Marissa, Sylvia, Aida, Liora, Elizabeth, Lana, Ofir, Jessie, and all of our wonderful students.

In those twenty years, we have often received many thoughtful and heartwarming gifts from our patients. All of them carry great meaning. But, every morning I arrive 30 minutes before everyone else to look at one particular gift. Another puzzle.

Several years ago a beautiful family came to us. The family consisted of a loving mother, who relied on her husband, a father, and a severely autistic young woman. The father had been having a very difficult time with his health and they had driven a great distance to see us. He was the sole provider for his family and had been sick for several months. After repeatedly passing out, he had been seen by multiple doctors and hospitalized on multiple occasions without any formal diagnosis. After careful evaluation, we discovered the problem and were able to correct it with a surgical procedure. His daughter, the autistic child, understood exactly what had happened, and its significance to her and to her family.

As her mother later recounted to me, as soon as her dad came home she grabbed her mother’s hand and dragged her to a store. Once inside she stopped in front of a particularly complex puzzle. Pointing to it, she said with enthusiasm, “Dr. Ben-Zur!”  They returned home with the puzzle and she immediately put it together with incredible speed. The same puzzle would’ve taken me many months to assemble. When she brought it to the office she gave me a big hug. The normally very shy girl, who her parents said, rarely demonstrated any affection, showed me the meaning of warmth. Her mother explained that her daughter meant for the puzzle to represent all the pieces of her family, with the face being her father. Now, my puzzle is back in one piece. Tears of joy filled my eyes and my throat constricted.  It took me immediately back to the night my dad was putting his pieces together.

And so, for all those who ask me, “Why do you get up so early?” and “Why do you put so much effort into what you do?” and “Why don’t you ever go on vacation?” I stand back, and point to that puzzle, and say, “Today I’m assembling a puzzle!”

Sincerely yours,

Uri Meir Nuriel Ben-Zur, M.D., F.A.C.C.

And the loving members of the Cardiovascular InstituteFullSizeRender (2)












With All of My Love, Pauline Bustamante


From the Bustamante Family:

I have never met a doctor so dedicated to helping, caring, saving, guiding, and supporting his patients the way Dr. Uri Ben-Zur does.

I had a condition no other doctor knew how to treat. The doctors (cardiologists, neurologists, etc.) told me my heart was fine and that they couldn’t find anything abnormal.

My daughter, Annie, received a referral for Dr. Ben-Zur. She called his office and immediately made an appointment.

When I arrived at his office, I waited no more than 2 minutes before the doctor greeted me and my family. He took me into a room where his friendly staff ran tests and asked me questions.

Going to an appointment with Dr. Ben-Zur is completely different than going to any other doctor appointment. The tranquil atmosphere and harmony that one feels is incredibly relaxing. I sometimes spend hours at his office (with all the testing that needs to be done) but time passes quickly and it’s always a pleasure since it’s such a calm environment.

For me, it was a blessing from G-d to have found Dr. Uri Ben-Zur. Not only did he save my life, but I had the opportunity to meet such an extraordinary and charitable man. My family and I are profoundly grateful for all of his help and for the compassion he shows for my special needs daughter, Pauline.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you doctor.
May G-d bless you.

Eternally Grateful,

Jose Bustamante & Family



















Thank you for saving our Papi, The Bustamante Family



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9 Responses to A Life Dedicated to Assembling Puzzles

  • Dr. Ben Zur,
    Thank you for sharing this story with me. It inspires me to thank you for all of the help you have given us during my wife’s recuperation from a stroke nine years ago. Even though we greet the dawn to see what her ailment of the day will be, the primary concern has been another blood pressure spike that will trigger another stroke, a possible fatal malady that you have brought under control for several years. We are forever indebted to you for being quickly available when other problems arise other than blood pressure excursions, such as colitis, asthma, vertigo, or urinary infections, all of which may have required an unexpected visit to your office. In short, take a bow!
    Jim LeBel

  • Dr Ben-Zur
    You are incredible ! Your life story touched me deeply & brought tears to my eyes too.
    Your caring & dedication to your patients is not matched with majority of MDs.
    I am forwarding this email to my brother to convey it to my mom too.
    Not only you are a great doctor, but also you have highest believes in Judaism that I respect much
    as an orthodox Jew.
    I don’t know how to express my gratitude for the most valuable medical care that you have given
    me and my family.
    We are all lucky to have found you !
    My thanks go to Mike Koshky and family who referred us to you.
    May Hashem give you all your life desires for helping so many patients.
    John(Avner) Ourian

  • It is no puzzle for me to figure out what a great doctor Dr. Ben-Zur is. Dedicated, trustworthy, compassionate and overwhelming skilled. All State Insurance may think you think you are in good hands with them…but the truth is you are REALLY in GOOD HANDS with Dr.Ben-Zur.

  • I can not thank enough!
    I am alive!!
    I can not thank enough!!!

  • Dr. Ben-Zur, Bhagat, Romero and all the wonderful people in your office,
    Being in the room with this amazing puzzle after reading this story brought me to tears! You have taken care of Stan like no other doctor. We know you are all dedicated to any patient as we see it first hand with both of us. We are so thankful to have you as our doctor and be a tiny piece of your wonderful puzzle?? thank you so much for ALL you do for us❤️

  • When I think I’ve heard the most wonderful and inspirational stories about the lives our Dr. Ben-Zur has touched……..I am always blown away by yet another account of his tremendous heart, dedication, expertise and devotion to his patients. From the moment I first stepped into your office 8 years ago, I knew I had found an angel.

  • Everybody in life has a passion, a dream… very few of us end up achieving it.
    Dr. Ben-Zur is the Mother Teresa, the Jane Goodall of the medical field! His passion: Saving lives! Nothing can stop him. He is like a winning steeplechase race horse. The harder the course, the higher he jumps. Doctor Ben-zur cares so very much about his patients – but that’s not enough when you are in the business of saving lives. You have to have the knowledge, the competence, the talent, the skill it takes to succeed. He is loaded with all of these.
    I am proud to be a member of the Dr. Ben-Zur’s fan club, for life…

  • I and Paulina read this story again and again because it brought a lot of memories about my and her families,what a hard life they lived ,the war,dictatorship,
    antisemitism They made it through carrying us on their shoulders to the point where we became sage enough. to bring them to America,and to give them
    a life they never dreamed of.They didn’t speak English a lot but the wards “We loved America very much” was a prove that our mission was accomplished
    and the puzzle solved ! Thank you very much ,dr.Ben Zur and G-d bless you and your family’s

  • God has put many angels on earth and Dr. Uri Benzur is absolutely one of his/her finest! Without a doubt, Dr. Benzur is THE MOST dedicated, knowledgable, caring doctor I have ever met. You truly know you are getting the best care you could possibly get anywhere.
    I myself had heard about him and how wonderful he was from two different friends before ever meeting him. I didn’t have a reason myself to go to a cardiologist but needed one for my Mom after she broke her hip and was in a rehab in Encino and was having congestive heart failure. Her regular cardiologist did not have rights out here so I needed to find a cardiologist out in the Valley. I remembered all the great things I heard about Dr. Benzur and called him. I hoped I would hear from him that day but was BLOWN away when I got a call back in 3 minutes! He was so sweet and reassuring and told me he would come see her that day!
    After that I realized what a gem I had found and told my husband to go see him. Then I went too and now he’s also my primary doctor and cardiologist! I have since recommended him to at least 12 friends all of whom have thanked me beyond words for suggesting
    they see him too. I can’t say enough great things about this angel of a man. I feel so blessed to call him my doctor and my friend.

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