Bill's Story: The Best Hospital Experience I've Ever Had
Bill McManus’ story starts several years ago with a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation.
“My brother was first in our family to be diagnosed with AFib, and he told me that I should see his cardiac electrophysiologist,” Bill says. “My brother said I should come up to Mass General and have my cardiac ablation done there, so I did. After I returned home, I would notice that every so often my heart would skip a beat. My primary care physician, Dr. Charles Stanislav, recommended I see Dr. Ehtasham Qureshi, an interventional cardiologist at Beebe Healthcare.”
Dr. Qureshi ordered a thorough evaluation of Bill’s heart, including an echocardiogram (EKG) and a nuclear stress test. Dr. Qureshi and his colleague, Dr. Malick Islam, a cardiac electrophysiologist, were right at Bill’s side during his stress test, explaining everything that was happening. The results were inconclusive, so the doctors performed a cardiac catheterization next. Bill was surprised by the results.
“My cardiac catheterization revealed a 90-percent blockage in the coronary artery known as the ‘widow maker’ and a 60-percent blockage in two other major arteries. Dr. Qureshi told me I would need to have open heart surgery – next week! This was on Nov. 27, and Dr. M.L. Ray Kuretu of Beebe Cardiothoracic Surgery would perform my open heart procedure on Dec. 4.
“My first impression of Dr. Kuretu was that he was very calming. He showed me the films of my heart and where the blockages were. Then Dr. Kuretu looked at me and said, ‘Bill, this is nothing that you’ve done; this is all hereditary.’ That made me feel better. I could stop beating myself up that I had eaten too much butter, or that I didn’t exercise enough. Then Dr. Kuretu told me that he’s been a cardiothoracic surgeon for 35 years and that he’s done over 10,000 procedures. All of this gained my complete confidence.
“From the moment I was admitted at the hospital to the moment I was discharged, all of the people at Beebe Healthcare were fantastic. Everyone was so very supportive of me and also of my husband, David. Given my lifestyle, I was pleasantly surprised that no one seemed to care about that at all.
“After the surgery, I had trouble getting my oxygen levels back up. Dr. Kuretu’s cardiac surgery physician assistants, Brian McCarthy and Alice Isidro, explained to David and me that they needed to keep the breathing tube in place just a little longer. Remaining conscious with a breathing tube inserted made me very anxious, but Brian and Alice had a grand plan. They really knew what they were doing, and they truly had my best interests at heart.
“As soon as the breathing tube was removed, I could be more active and begin my recovery. And Brian and Alice really pushed me. The first day after surgery, I had to get out of bed and sit in the chair. I remember thinking, ‘I just had a major operation and you want me to get out of the bed?’ The next day I had a shower. On the third day I was disconnected from everything, except the chest tubes, and began my prescribed laps around the ICU three or four times a day. I could feel myself getting stronger and stronger.
“It was also on that day that one of my ICU nurses, Dawn Snyder, came into my room with a little white Christmas tree with little flashing lights. Such a kind gesture! She didn’t have to do that. The fact that Dawn went out of her way to give me that tree really touched me. Dawn’s whole demeanor was exactly what you would want in a nurse. She was readily available to answer my questions, very nurturing, and always made me feel comfortable and calm.
“There was one night when I was awakened by a lot of commotion. A patient was in obvious distress, but everyone was very calm and acted so professionally. Later, I asked a nurse if that patient was OK, and she assured me that he was. I remember being so impressed by the professionalism and the calmness that the ICU team had demonstrated at all times – not like any of the doctor shows you see on TV. Neither David nor I ever encountered any anxiety, because the whole feel in the Intensive Care Unit was so calm. This gave us an incredible sense of confidence.
“On my last day at Beebe, there was a patient a couple of doors down from my room, and she seemed so sad. I gave her the tree that Dawn had given to me. I just wanted to be able to do something for someone else, because so many wonderful things had been done for me. Beebe far exceeded my expectations. When I got home I went right on Facebook and told everyone that it was the best hospital experience I have ever had in my life.”
Beebe Healthcare offers an advanced Cardiothoracic Surgery program as part of its comprehensive Cardiac and Vascular Services that include interventional cardiology, electrophysiology, vascular surgery and interventions, a full range of cardiac and vascular testing and monitoring, cardiac rehabilitation, and the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine program.
Beebe’s highly skilled cardiac interventionalists, cardiac electrophysiologists, vascular surgeons, and cardiothoracic surgeons, supported by experienced surgical and nursing teams, perform advanced procedures in state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization and electrophysiology labs and operating rooms. Beebe’s teams follow patients through the entire treatment and recovery process.
As a community-based, not-for-profit healthcare system, Beebe Healthcare depends on the generous support of individuals, corporations, businesses, and private foundations. All gifts to Beebe Healthcare, large or small, are tax-deductible and are channeled through Beebe Medical Foundation. Please consider making a gift today and sharing your story with our community. To make your proud personal donation or to learn more about Celebrate Excellent Care go here, or contact the Beebe Medical Foundation at (302) 644-2900 or [email protected].
Caption: Celebrating Excellent Cardiac Care are (l-r) Moira Quint, office coordinator; David Nelson and Bill McManus; Dawn Snyder, RN-ICU; Dr. M. Ray Kuretu, cardiothoracic surgeon; and Brian McCarthy, PA-C.