Patient Expresses Gratitude for Excellent Cardiac Care

A UCSF cardiology patient took the time to express his gratitude for the care he received while undergoing an unanticipated surgery. In his own words, here’s what unfolded and the many ways in which the care by these individuals meant so much to him: 

I wish to express my utmost gratitude to the entire UCSF medical team for the excellent care I received during my recent stay at the UCSF Parnassus Campus. 

I presented to the Acute Care Clinic as a 69-year-old male in no apparent distress. I reported a rapid heart beat incident the previous evening. I was administered an EKG which did not reveal any abnormalities. However, Dr. Arul Thangavel completed a detailed history and ordered a more extended EKG which revealed a possible Mobitz Type 2. He then personally escorted me across the street to the UCSF Emergency Department, which conducted additional tests. It was determined that I needed to be transferred to Cardiology, and the staff was persistent to make certain that I was able to be transferred that night. 

I spent 6 days in the Cardiology Unit at UCSF. Every staff member who interacted with me, from patient transporter to cardiovascular surgeon, treated me with the utmost respect. My case was deemed "unusual" because I was asymptomatic even though my heart rate repeatedly fell to the mid 30's. I was administered a number of tests to determine causality to make certain that implanting a Pacemaker was the best procedure. I am forever grateful to the entire medical team for their diligence. The Pacemaker was installed by lead surgeon Dr. Byron Lee. I now feel more clear-headed than ever before, which I attribute to the successful surgery as well as a sense of relief. I probably never knew what "normal" was before the surgery.

I wish I could recognize every person who cared for me. All of the bedside nurses who provided treatment and monitored my vitals were incomparable. Their compassion and patience with "difficult patients" was a joy to observe. Two nurses in particular stood out to me, Monica Lui and Alla Marmysh. Not only were they engaging and professional in their care, but I was also able to form a bond of friendship in a short time which was much appreciated since only limited family visits were allowed. A Nursing Care Assistant named Carl Russo was also highly knowledgeable and resourceful in his care for patients.

The team of cardiologists and electrophysiologists that visited me every morning were phenomenal. I always felt fully informed and part of the decision-making process. They spoke to me at great length and answered my many questions in layman terms. On more than a few occasions, they would actually draw diagrams, "teach" me how to read an EKG, or show me videos of my heart from the CT scan. It was above and beyond in terms of their commitment to my well-being. I trusted them which is what any patient wants from their doctor.

On the evening of my surgery, just as I was being wheeled into the operating room, my heart rate dropped to the low 30's. I thought staff would need to call a Code Blue because I was experiencing a cold flush, and I thought I would pass out. However, all of the nurses and doctors were calm and deliberate as they prepared me for the surgery. I was amazed by their professional demeanor and competence. Dr. Lee then led the surgical team, and I was very pleased they were able to perform a "His Bundle Pacing" which is not done by all hospital surgeons.

Finally, I would like to thank the UCSF team for allowing patients to review medical reports and test results immediately on MyChart. This transparency creates another level of trust between patient and doctor. 

Below, I have listed the names of my treating medical professionals who I was able to remember. There are many more, but I did not record everyone's name. Please make certain they receive accolades for their service and patient care.

Acute Care Clinic

Arul Thangavel, MD

Cardiology Team

Gregory Marcus, MD
Eunjeong Kim, MD
Aarthi Sabanayagam, MD
Ilana Garcia-Grossman, MD
Akemi Brown, MD

Patient Nursing Care

Monica Lui, RN
All Marmysh, RN
Carl Russo, RN

Surgical Team

Byron Lee, MD
Shadi Kalantarian, MD
Jordan Lorenz, RN
Sophia Fleuriamond, RN
William Shields, RN
Philip Dinh Truong, CRNA