Vim & Vigor - Winter 2013 - Gwinnett Medical Center - (Page 4)

Heartfelt Purpose A GMC cardiologist traveling on a mission trip connects a man in Ethiopia with lifesaving surgery at his hospital F or Eyasu Minas Woldekirkos, one encounter with a compassionate doctor made a life-ordeath difference. In April 2012, Gwinnett Medical Center cardiologist Michael Lipsitt, MD, participated in a medical mission trip to Gondar, Ethiopia, where he worked on behalf of Jewish Healthcare International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing education and access to healthcare. Dr. Lipsitt's days in Ethiopia regularly included social consultations-quick medical evaluations of other people. It was during one of these that he met Woldekirkos and noticed distinct signs of end-stage heart disease. When he reviewed Woldekirkos' most recent echocardiogram, Dr. Lipsitt says he knew the patient's valves were dysfunctional. "I had no idea how he was alive," he says. "In fact, his valves were as dysfunctional as any heart that I have ever seen." Woldekirkos, a trained mechanic, was the sole provider for his family. He had become nearly bedridden and struggled just to get out of bed or walk up a flight of stairs. In need of a SolutIon Dr. Lipsitt believed that Woldekirkos suffered from a common type of valve condition called rheumatic heart disease. This can cause the heart valve leaflets to become inflamed, stick together and become scarred, rigid, thickened and shortened. In addition, the valves may become leaky. Rheumatic heart disease usually results from rheumatic fever, which stems from an untreated streptococcal infection, such as strep throat. 4 WINTE R 2 013 Although Dr. Lipsitt first thought there was no possible way to fix the problem, he began searching for medical resolution. With help from Jewish Healthcare International and local federal representatives, he was able to get a visa for Woldekirkos to come to America. There, the expert cardiothoracic surgeons at Gwinnett Medical Center's Strickland Heart Center stepped up. "I never dreamed it would be possible to get Eyasu to Atlanta for this operation," Dr. Lipsitt says. "However, with the cooperation of Gwinnett Medical Center, Dr. Langford, Jewish Healthcare International and [U.S.] Rep. Tom Price, MD, an impossible feat was accomplished." JumpIng for Joy In November 2012, David A. Langford, MD, a lead surgeon at the Strickland Heart Center with more than 25 years of experience fixing hearts, successfully performed the complex, 10-hour triple valve replacement, made possible by contributions from individuals, GMC and Jewish Healthcare International. According to Dr. Langford, a board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon, postoperative recovery was uneventful and Woldekirkos was discharged six days after the procedure. "The difference is huge, like the difference between the sky and the earth," says Woldekirkos, translated by Muluken Messele, a nurse who made the trip with him. "Before the surgery, I wouldn't even try to go up two stairs. Now, I can go whatever the distance." When Woldekirkos was first released from the hospital, he leapt up and down as many stairs as possible at Dr. Lipsitt's home. According to Messele, Woldekirkos was saying time and again that he has been born for the second time, postsurgery.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vim & Vigor - Winter 2013 - Gwinnett Medical Center

Vim & Vigor - Winter 2013 - Gwinnett Medical Center
Phil’s Feature
Heartfelt Purpose
Not Too Busy to Beat Cancer
Got Excuses?
Managing Your Health with a DIY Tool Kit
Is It the Stress Talking?
The Wonderful World of Greens
Knee-to-Know Basics
On the Cover
Run for Your Life
14 Good-for-You Gifts
Special Delivery
Virtual Health
PrimeTime Health
Inspired Giving
Heads Full of Hope
Out of the White
Transforming Healthcare

Vim & Vigor - Winter 2013 - Gwinnett Medical Center