When the unexpected occurred, William Paseler was grateful to find cardiac care that complemented his beliefs.
William, 67, was driving with his wife, Linda, on a cold January day when the pressure began.
“It felt like someone was sitting on my chest,” says the Tinton Falls, New Jersey, resident, who lost his father to a heart attack that occurred the same way. “Linda took over driving to take me to a hospital near our home, but I was feeling so bad that we stopped at the closest urgent care facility instead.”
The clinicians at the urgent care center performed an electrocardiogram and determined that William was having a problem with his heart that required immediate treatment.
“They put William in an ambulance and sent us to the emergency room at the local hospital,” Linda remembers.
“The doctor at urgent care said William could have a heart attack before we got to the hospital, which was only three miles away.”
A team of cardiac specialists at the facility was ready to receive William at the emergency room, and they set to work performing an angioplasty to open an artery that was 100 percent blocked.
“William immediately felt better,” Linda says. “But the doctor said that at least two other arteries were clogged, as well.”
A Life-Changing Procedure
William would require open-heart surgery to address his cardiac complications, and doctors wanted to transfer him to another hospital on the Jersey Shore for the procedure. However, because of his religious beliefs as a Jehovah’s Witness, William felt it was important to receive care at a facility specializing in bloodless medicine. He knew he wanted to be treated by the bloodless experts at the Institute for Patient Blood Management and Bloodless Medicine and Surgery at Englewood Health.
“We have had other friends who have been to The Bloodless Institute at Englewood Hospital, and the results were fantastic,” William says.
Adam Arnofsky, MD, Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at The Bloodless Institute, oversaw William’s care.
“William had known blockages of the arteries, and it was difficult to manage. He came in with chest pain, so we proceeded to perform quintuple bypass surgery,” Dr. Arnofsky says. “His blood counts were optimized prior to surgery, which is what you want when performing bloodless surgery, and he did well with the operation.”
“A strong bond between patients and doctors in a bloodless setting is extremely important. We work within the constraints of our patients’ desires and we don’t rush into things. Patience is necessary to provide meticulous care. With an open mind, we can ensure safe and successful outcomes.”Adam Arnofsky, MD, Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery
To perform the procedure, Dr. Arnofsky followed a meticulous surgical technique. Specifically, he put William on a bypass machine during the surgery and used a procedure to circulate William’s blood.
“After we made sure that everything went well, William’s blood was circulated back to his body,” Dr. Arnofsky says. “Patients are aware of this technique and consent before the operation is performed. It has been a real lifesaver for this group of patients.”
Dr. Arnofsky also notes that effective collaboration between cardiologists and cardiac surgeons is critical to each patient’s success, and that is no different for patients for whom transfusion is not an option.
“Everyone is on board with the patient’s wishes and works toward the same common goal,” Dr. Arnofsky says. “We are really looking at different facets to get the patient treated appropriately and safely.”
Providing Peace of Mind
The attention to detail paid by The Bloodless Institute extends to the team’s bedside manner, according to Linda and William.
“I am so glad we had somewhere to go that made us feel comfortable,” Linda says. “All of the doctors and staff were so helpful and loving. Englewood provided accommodations, and I was appreciative of the fact that the hospital arranged for me to stay there instead of having to drive back and forth to our home. I had peace of mind that I was nearby when William needed me.”
William was also appreciative of his medical team’s compassion and support.
“I was afraid, but they made me feel comfortable and told me about things before they happened,” William says. “They really felt like family and let me know that someone cared.” Today, William is feeling better every day and enjoys exercising and traveling with Linda.
Originally published in CHOICES, Issue 2, 2019