Patient who met the President is ‘ecstatic’ over surgery
When President Barack Obama visited Cleveland Clinic on July 23, he received an inside look at its model of healthcare, including a demonstration of robotically assisted heart valve repair that speeds up patients’ recovery time and decreases cost.
He also spent several minutes conversing with former heart patient Rich Kapper, who is a grateful beneficiary of Cleveland Clinic’s expertise in minimally invasive robotic surgery.
Mr. Kapper, a 43-year-old CPA from the Chicago area, flew in specifically to meet with the President. He had surgery in June to repair a hole in his mitral valve that was caused by endocarditis. His only option in Chicago was to have open-heart surgery, which he didn’t want to do, he says. “Something about having my ribs broken and my chest opened just turned me off,” he explains.
His uncle told him about Cleveland Clinic. “I actually called my uncle, who lives in Detroit. I was so depressed about having to have open-heart surgery, be off of work for two to three months, and, really, have a life-altering event in my life. And he basically said, ‘I had minimally invasive bypass surgery at the Cleveland Clinic.’”
That impressed Mr. Kapper, whose Chicago doctors had said that their institutions were two years from being able to do minimally invasive robotic mitral valve repair. “I went on the Cleveland Clinic website, and the Cleveland Clinic is doing it,” he says. “It's not just out there in the future.”
Mr. Kapper was equally impressed with Cleveland Clinic’s “patients first” culture. “I use the example of lying outside the OR the day of my surgery,” he says. “Every single person that walked in and out of that OR stopped, introduced themselves, told me what their role was in the surgery.” That included his surgeon, Tomislav Mihaljevic, MD. “They made me feel so comfortable. I wasn't a number. I wasn't just another case. I was a human being.
“I'm incredibly happy,” Mr. Kapper adds. “I was so depressed four months ago, saying, ‘My life's gonna really change and really be bad for the foreseeable future.’ To have this outcome, I'm ecstatic.”
To make a gift supporting the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute or any area of Cleveland Clinic, visit iSupport, our secure online giving site, or call Institutional Relations and Development at 216.444.1245 or toll-free at 800.223.2273, ext. 41245.