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Patients celebrate "Renewed Hearts"

May 1, 2014
The Town Crier

Dr. John J. Guerriero, a Boardman resident, isn't greedy. At 84, the father of six daughters and retired optometrist says he's ''had a great life.'' When he suffered a heart attack last summer, he figured his time was up, and he was willing to go without a fight.

His daughters weren't as complacent. They knew their father had a lot of living left. After several hours of pleading with him to consent to treatment, Dr. Guerriero gave in and was admitted to St. Elizabeth Health Center where he was wheeled into the heart catheterization lab. Dr. Robert Houston, a Humility of Mary Health Partners cardiologist, inserted a stent into one of Guerriero's heart vessels, which was 100 percent blocked.

''I felt wonderful,'' Guerriero says, recalling how he felt almost immediately after the stent was inserted.

Article Photos

Photo special to the Town Crier
Dr. John J. Guerriero, a retired optometrist and Boardman resident, and Dr. Jeffrey Fulton, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Humility of Mary Health Partners, were featured speakers during the Renewed Hearts Reunion April 8 at Antone's Banquet Centre.

The bad news was that Guerriero's other four heart vessels were 95 percent blocked.

Dr. Jeffrey Fulton, whose son plays baseball with one of Guerriero's grandsons, proposed he undergo heart bypass surgery.

''I just didn't want to do all of that,'' Guerriero says. But, inspired by how much better he felt after the stent was inserted, and the pleadings of his daughters, Guerriero consented.

Today, his life is even better than before. ''I ride my bike in the park six miles every day. I play tennis three times a week. I go to the gym,'' Guerriero says. ''I'm in great shape.''

Undergoing heart catheterization and bypass surgery weren't fun, but they were definitely worth it, he says. The only problem, Guerriero laments, is ''now I've got a great heart and an old body.''

Guerriero was one of some 70 patients who've undergone open-heart surgery in the past year celebrating with family, friends, physicians, nurses and other health care providers during St. Elizabeth Heart and Vascular Center's Renewed Hearts Reunion April 8 at Antone's Banquet Centre in Boardman. This is the eighth year for the annual event.

''What we really like about this event is that we get to see you back to normal, in your normal clothes not a hospital gown, out to dinner, having a good time,'' Dr. Fulton said as he welcomed patients and their guests.

It was also an opportunity for patients to share their experiences with each other and collectively celebrate their good health.



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