It is certainly not unusual for married couples to do all sorts of activities together. Typically, however, those activities don’t include surgical procedures – unless you’re Donald and Betty Flood.
In a twist of fate, the couple, married for 52 years, each underwent procedures performed in February 2010 by Cleveland Clinic Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute surgeons.
How does a couple from Green Valley, Ariz., wind up having surgeries on the same day at Cleveland Clinic?
It began when Mr. Flood’s cardiologist told him that he would eventually need surgery on his mitral valve. Doctors in Arizona wanted to replace the valve, but Mr. Flood, 76, wanted it only repaired, if possible. He did an extensive Internet search, which led him to Cleveland Clinic’s website and Marc Gillinov, MD. Dr. Gillinov agreed that repair was the better option.
Since the couple was already headed to Cleveland, Mrs. Flood decided to investigate her own condition. An avid athlete, she had intermittent claudication that limited her leg mobility. Her own physicians gave conflicting advice about how best to treat the condition.
Again, taking advantage of the Internet, Mrs. Flood, 76, selected Vik Kashyap, MD, FACS, for a second opinion. Dr. Kashyap determined angioplasty to treat a blocked calf artery was the best course.
Dr. Kashyap gave Mrs. Flood the option of waiting until the day after her husband’s surgery. But her attitude was, “Why wait? Let’s do [the surgery] now. I’d rather get myself treated than spend time worrying.”
The day of the surgery, Cleveland Clinic patient navigator Sheila McNally updated Mrs. Flood on her husband’s progress before she went into her own surgery. When it was time, she went without worry, feeling confident that her husband’s procedure – repairing both his mitral and tricuspid valves – was going smoothly.
Mr. Flood says he was informed of his wife’s status as soon as he woke up from anesthesia. “The communication was outstanding,” he stresses.
They were able to see each other the next day, and were soon discharged. Mr. and Mrs. Flood left Cleveland Clinic impressed with their care and with the staff.
“We feel that employees are so caring because they truly appreciate working at Cleveland Clinic,” Mrs. Flood says. “Everyone is so friendly. You can really see they love their jobs.”