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Patient story text provided below. Photos show patient with family members

My family has a long and beneficial relationship with Deborah Heart and Lung Center starting in 1999 when my father received a triple bypass, providing our family with nearly twenty additional years together. But “what if” “… he didn’t go to Deborah?I have been a commercial airline pilot for eighteen years and a little over a year ago I was prepping for eye surgery and needed cardiac clearance. After an examination by Sena Sumathisena, MD, he cleared me for surgery, but given my family history, he insisted I come back for a full compre- hensive cardiac evaluation. “What if”…I didn’t go to Deborah? Weeks later I was back and Dr. Sena put me through the circuit: bloodwork, chest X-ray, echocardio- gram, and stress test. During the echo, the tech noticed something which he shared with the Fellow who was reviewing my chart. The two asked me several times, “Do you feel okay? Any pain or discomfort? Any tightness or shortness of breath?” My response was “No, I feel great.”

Mark Moshiyakhov, MD, the cardiologist overseeing the stress test, walked in and asked the same probing questions. I assured him I would stop at the slightest level of discom- fort. Fifteen minutes later, to the surprise of all in the room, I completed the test with no issues.

That evening I received a call from Dr. Sena who was astonished by my endurance on the treadmill, yet concerned with what the team detected on the echocardiogram. As a result, he sent me to the cath lab where a 95% blockage was discovered in my Left Anterior Descending (LAD) artery otherwise known as, “The Widow Maker.” A stent was inserted and I was officially grounded for ninety days as per FAA regulations. The FAA also requires another stress test and cath before returning to full flight status. Three months later I was back at Deborah and although I did great on the stress test, a 65% blockage was now detected in my Right Coronary Artery (RCA) resulting in another stent…and another ninety days grounded. Like many before me, I spent the next several months asking how this could happen to me, and worse, I was consumed by my own “what ifs”. Three months later I was back again,

but this time passed all tests with “flying” colors. As an international pilot, I am responsible for all 300 souls on board, and all those “what if” scenarios have inspired me to establish and maintain a much healthier lifestyle. This life-altering experience has given me new perspective and greater appreciation for my health, my wife, my family, my career, and most certainly…Deborah.

Dr. Sena worked closely with the pilot’s union and the office of the Chief Pilot to ensure my medical records and paperwork were completed and submitted as per regulations. As a result, I was returned to full status and I’m back in the cockpit. Thanks to Dr. Sena, the entire team at Deborah, and the incredible technology they utilized, my life was saved and, more importantly, a potential large scale disaster was averted.

During this reflective time of year as you gather with your family and friends and contemplate all you are grateful for, please share my story. Also, please join me in supporting this extraordinary organization by investing your philanthropic dollars in Deborah Hospital Foundation and be part of something special, something bigger than us all. Let your gift be the silver lining in someone’s “what if” story. Believe me…there is no greater feeling. I wish you and your loved ones great health in the New Year.

Grateful patient and donor,
Michael Toal

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