BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — After saving the lives of their patients, many doctors and nurses don’t get a chance to reconnect with them.

That’s why Sanford’s Heart Recovery Reunion event is such a special one.

The Sanford Heart Hospital of Bismarck hosted its first-ever Heart Recovery Reunion to give healthcare workers a chance to reunite with the patients whose lives they saved.

Sanford Cardiologist Dr. Nayan Desai says this event allows for doctors to see their patients as more than just numbers on a chart.

“We get to refer them when we come in the cath lab as ‘patient A’ or ‘patient B,’ and not see that true life perspective which they have going on outside,” said Desai. “Of course, our job as physicians is to get them out safely and to give them a good quality of life, but it is wonderful to see them in the communities, to see them today with their families, to also talk and celebrate their survival.”

One patient who’s getting a chance to celebrate and thank Dr. Desai is Washburn resident James Beaudry, known by all as “Mac.” After Mac had a heart attack earlier this year, he was given various tests, all of which showed he was in great shape.

“Everything seemed to be going real well, but they knew I had a heart attack. So, they said, ‘Well you should really have an oncologist,’” related Mac. “And so, I said to the wife, ‘I really don’t know any oncologists, so I’m just gonna have to leave that up to God.’ And God picked me the best — Dr. Desai.”

Desai was able to see that Mac’s main artery was 99% blocked. To unblock Mac’s artery, Dr. Desai used an Impella device as he performed the surgery — which is a pump that goes into the heart, takes the blood out of the left side of the heart, and then pumps that blood into the whole body.

“If it was not for the device, the chances of him leaving the hospital with a good outcome was going to be dismal,” said Desai.

Thanks to Dr. Desai, and the Impella device, Mac is back to normal.

“It saved my life and it also got me interested in life again instead of just hoping I can get by,” Mac said.

Mac spends his time with his wife, children, and grandchildren, driving the ambulance for the local EMTs, and volunteering for the local Lion’s Club and church council.

“Too many things happened for me to say, ‘How lucky can you be?’ I’m not lucky, I’m blessed, and I’m just so glad that I’m able to be here and talk about it,” Mac recalled.

Dr. Desai says Bismarck Sanford’s Impella device is one of the only ones that’s being used in the area, and it allows patients from surrounding rural areas to come to Bismarck rather than travel to places such as the Twin Cities for care.


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