When Wakeman resident Kathryn Holmes decided to have her diagnostic heart catheterization performed at the Fisher-Titus Heart & Vascular Center on February 14, she also became the Center’s first patient to have an interventional heart catheterization with stent placement.
Kathryn’s story began when she needed to schedule pre-surgery testing and a cardiology consultation in preparation for gallbladder surgery.
“When I saw an article in the paper about two new cardiologists at Fisher-Titus and a picture of nurse Chris Colvin, who I had gotten to know during previous treatment at Fisher-Titus, I called for an appointment!”
Although Kathryn’s echocardiogram was normal, her stress test indicated a possible blockage. During her follow-up consultation with Dr. Juan Weksler, one of the new Fisher-Titus interventional cardiologists, Kathryn learned that she would need to have a diagnostic heart catheterization.
“Dr. Weksler explained everything so well to me and was so kind,” she said. “I had total confidence in him. I also wanted to have the procedure performed at Fisher-Titus.” Her catheterization was scheduled for February 14.
In addition to being Valentine’s Day, February 14 was a special day at Fisher-Titus because it marked the hospital’s new designation by the Ohio Department of Health as a Level II adult cardiac catheterization laboratory.
“For the first time since the Snyder/White Heart & Vascular Center opened in 2008, our patients can have interventional heart catheterizations, including balloon angioplasty and stent placement at Fisher-Titus,” Dr. Burkey said. “We are very pleased to introduce this level of care to our patients so they can stay close to home instead of being referred to another facility.”
Kathryn was the first patient to benefit from this expansion of services when her diagnostic cath revealed the need for intervention.
“I am so glad I was able to have my procedure done at Fisher-Titus,” said Kathryn.
Her procedure was performed by Dr. Gaby Aoun, also part of the Fisher-Titus Heart & Vascular physician group. As partners in the same office, Drs. Aoun and Weksler are able to provide care to all patients when they need it.
After being given medicine to relax and numbing her wrist, a thin tube called a catheter was inserted into an artery in Kathryn’s arm. Then a special dye was injected so blood flow through the arteries would be visible on monitors. The doctor then moved a balloon catheter and a stent to the site of the blockage. The balloon and stent were inflated to open the blockage. Then the balloon was deflated and taken out, leaving the stent in place.
“I was awake the whole time and Dr. Aoun immediately put me at ease,” she said. “Dr. Aoun and others talked to me and I watched all of the machines. I was totally impressed and not afraid. I knew I had made the right decision.”
After the procedure Kathryn went to recovery, then to the ICU, and was in a hospital room later the same day.
“I could not have asked for a better experience, every person each step of the way was awesome,” she said. “The nurse who moved me from ICU to my hospital room even stopped in to see me when her shift ended the next morning. She was wonderful.”
One of Kathryn’s daughters, Tammy Byrd, traveled from Virginia to be with her mom during the procedure, and later remarked, “We are so grateful for the wonderful care my mom received as she became your first patient. Thank you for your exceptional patient experience.”
No stranger to health care, Kathryn began working in the field in the mid 1960s with family physician Dr. Nino Camardese. She later joined Fisher-Titus Hospital as a transcriptionist, and then worked with Dr. Sunil Dubhashi. In 1984, Kathryn and her family moved to Virginia where she spent her last 25 years in health care at a multi-specialty physician practice. She and her husband returned to Huron County in 2015.
Kathryn is now looking forward to starting cardiac rehabilitation at Fisher-Titus.
“We are so fortunate to have Fisher-Titus in our community,” she said. “I hope that Fisher-Titus stays here for a long time and we never lose the ‘hometown’ feeling that makes Fisher-Titus unique.”