YOUR HEALTH MATTERS: Risky heart surgery patients share success stories

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More than a half million Americans have heart surgery each year. Some local people are forced to travel for complicated surgeries, but often that’s not best for them or their family.

A Sioux City heart surgeon tells us about the amazing things happening right here that are benefiting Siouxland heart patients.

This is one of this first time he’s seen his surgery patients since the operating room. An impromptu waiting room reunion is somewhat a miracle when you consider what these men have been through.
 
For Jeff: open heart surgery when he was already in poor health, and Bob: a risky heart valve repair after a prior major operation.
 
Robert Harding says, “My heart was working four times harder than it should.”
 
That’s because his heart valve was leaking. But operating through a prior open heart surgery scar wasn’t the best bet, so Mercy cardiothorasic surgeon Dr. Gurbuz took a different approach.
 
Dr. Gurbuz says, “What we did in him, we actually went through his side and made a tiny little hole and repaired the valve while his heart was still beating.”
 
It’s surgery some people told Bob couldn’t be done in Sioux City. But, he’s glad he decided to stay close to home.
 
Bob says, “They can’t be any better. I got the energy back, and I gained the wait back right away, and I feel great!”
 
Dr. Gurbuz says, “It’s really rewarding for the community, because otherwise these people were being packaged up and sent two hours away, three hours away, four hours away. We treat everybody like they’re one of our family members, and we want to see them like this, coming around, being happy, being active, basically living [to] the full extent of their quality of life. That’s why we do the surgery; we want to make them better, both afterward and long term.”
 
Jeff says, “Dr. Gurbuz told us from the start, it didn’t look good, but here I am.”
 
Jeff’s outlook was grim, because he was already so sick. His kidneys were functioning at less than 15%. Heart surgery, can make that even worse.
 
Dr. Tayfun Gurbuz, Mercy Heart Surgeon, says, “People start out with oh, barely working kidneys, and after open heart surgery, they almost always go on dialysis.”
 
Dr. Gurbuz is a cardiothoracic at Mercy Medical Center. He performed Jeff’s surgery, because he knew that, dispite the risks, it was his best chance at having a normal life. And, against the odds, it was a success. A credit to a team approach, Doctor says, at treated the whole patient.
 
Dr. Gurbuz says, “That’s a major accomplishment for somebody like him. 
 
Jeff admits he isn’t the same… but for the better. He’ll stick around for his six grandkids… his 65th birthday…. and to say more thank yous to the team he says saved his life when he didn’t even know it needed saving.
 
Jeff says, “I never really felt bad until now I feel good!”
 

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