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Joseph Polinski Celebrates Excellent Cardiac Care

This story began back in August when I reconnected with a good friend, Bernie, and her husband Joe Polinski, at a local fundraiser. Bernie said to me, “David, it has been such a long time! Come, and join our table to have dinner with Joe and me.” We caught up on all kinds of things and I shared that I was now working with the Beebe Medical Foundation. Joe lit up and said, “You’re working at Beebe? I really have to see a cardiologist close to home.” I excitedly told Joe that Beebe’s “Presenting our Physicians” program in September was featuring two of our cardiologists: Dr. Rob Myers, an Interventional Cardiologist and Dr. Firas El Sabbagh, a Cardiac Electrophysiologist.

Joe and Bernie attended the presentation and Joe recalls, “The doctors’ presentations were very informative. I learned so much from Dr. El Sabbagh about how AFib, or atrial fibrillation, can be treated through a procedure called Cryoablation.  At the end of the presentation, I met Dr. El Sabbagh. We shook hands and he said, ‘How are you Joe, and what’s going on? Please call my office and talk with Tricia, my assistant. Tricia will get you an appointment to see me soon.’ I let Dr. El Sabbagh know that Bernie and I were leaving the next day for a vacation cruise to various ports around Italy and I would see him when we returned from our trip.

“While on vacation, I got very sick and was admitted to a hospital in Sicily for five days. The cruise ship doctor forewarned me that I would be in the hospital for four or five days. Bernie and I were really worried. It’s not like healthcare here in the states, where they work really hard to get a patient out of the hospital and back home as quickly as possible. We really wanted to get home for proper care. All I was given to eat while I was in the hospital was pasta, which caused another problem with my blood sugar. On the day I was being released, I had concerns about the medication I was prescribed. The doctors were giving me too many pills in high dosage forms. No one in the hospital spoke English, but I knew better, being a pharmacist, and immediately called Dr. El Sabbagh long distance.

“What really impressed me is when I called Dr. El Sabbagh’s office while we were in Italy. He called me back in five minutes! I let him know what was happening and he told me to come see him the day after I landed in America. The best thing about Dr. El Sabbagh was how he was able to calm me down about a really serious condition. He said to me, ‘Yes Joe, I understand your concerns and I know this is very scary for you, but this is what I do. We are going to take very good care of you.’ I had my procedure at Beebe, a cardiac ablation, five days later.

“After my ablation I was in Beebe’s Cardiac Lab recovering and two of my buddies who were born in Italy snuck in to see me. Dr. El Sabbagh came in and was telling us that Bologna and Milan were the centers of excellence for atrial fibrillation coronary care – not Sicily where I was hospitalized. When I saw Dr. El Sabbagh after my ablation he recalled, ‘Your friends who visited you in the hospital were so nice.’ Dr. El Sabbagh treats you like you are a family member. In fact, he called me just before my next visit because he hadn’t heard from me. He wanted to make sure I was Okay.
“Dr. El Sabbagh’s style is so different. He is calm, quick minded and very humble. He talks with you about his background, where he has practiced and his professional relationships. He talks with you about all of the other issues that might be a part of the problem. He takes the time you need to understand. His positive attitude also carries over to Tricia and Robin who are members of his staff.
“Tricia is a key person on Dr. El Sabbagh’s team. She’s someone who makes things happen. Tricia would answer the phone, we would explain our issues and she would talk with Dr. El Sabbagh and get back to us the same day with the answers to our questions. She is very good and very responsive. Robin is a bright, happy, bubbly nurse, so lively, always smiling and laughing. She even laughs at my jokes. Robin is serious about her responsibilities but she finds a way to add humor and make you feel good, which in turn makes you more relaxed. They’re always smiling and happy to see you. Everyone on Dr. El Sabbagh’s team makes you feel like you are number one. You are confident that they are listening to you and taking care of you.

“Every part of my experience at Beebe was wonderful. Every person who was a part of my care was amazing. The nurses in the Cardiac Cath Lab took such good care of me. I remember they asked me after the procedure, ‘Joe, are you hungry?’ and then they started laughing and said, ‘Guess what! You’re having spaghetti for dinner!’—they remembered my story about our “vacation” in Italy. I only spent one night in the hospital and it was such a terrific experience. I’ve had both of my knees replaced here at Beebe and I have always spoken so highly about the Orthopaedic program. Now I’m singing the praises of Beebe’s Cardiac and Vascular Services, too!”

Joe and Bernie Polinski made a generous donation to celebrate the care Joe received from Dr. El Sabbagh, Tricia Thomas and Robin Bryan. They have designated their donation to support the addition of a new Electrophysiology/Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Beebe Healthcare. As a community-owned, not-for-profit healthcare system, Beebe continues to depend on the generous support of individuals, corporations, businesses, and private foundations. All gifts, large or small, to Beebe Healthcare, are tax deductible and are channeled through Beebe Medical Foundation.  Please consider making a gift today and share your amazing stories with our community.

To make your proud personal donation or to learn more about Celebrate Excellent Care, go online to www.beebemedicalfoundation.org or contact the Beebe Medical Foundation at (302) 644-2900 or write to foundation@beebehealthcare.org.