When the Stars Align at Ocean University Medical Center
January 20, 2023
For many, like Lambros R. Lambrou, timing proves to be everything. Last summer, on June 9, 2022, Lambros was invited to learn more about Hackensack Meridian Ocean University Medical Center by taking a tour of his local hospital with Jereme Kokes, a good friend and member of the hospital’s board of trustees. Unbelievably, just four days later, Lambros’ father suffered a massive heart attack that landed him at Ocean.
On June 13, Lambros called his mother to wish her a happy birthday. Unable to reach her, he called his father. His father answered and shared, in a sick, slow-tempered voice, that he was getting into an ambulance after suffering from chest pain.
Lambros met his mother, as well as his identical twin brother and fellow chiropractic physician, Dimitrios Lambrou, at the hospital. Unbeknownst to him, while Lambros was on the way, his father required CPR and Denise Schwartz, RN, swiftly moved into action. Upon arrival Dimitrios had the opportunity to speak with Brad Pulver, M.D., the director of the Hirair and Anna Hovnanian Emergency Care Center who was working that day, and who informed him that their father, Hristos, was having a heart attack. He reassured him that Arthur Okere, M.D., would care for him emergently in the cardiac catheterization lab. Within 30 minutes of their father’s arrival at Ocean, Dr. Okere was able to restore blood flow to the heart muscle through an angioplasty, inserting a stent to keep the arteries surrounding his heart open.
“The first stent did not take, but Dr. Okere was persistent,” says Lambros. “To go from door to balloon in that short of a time is unprecedented. We were shocked. Dr. Okere and his team saved our father’s life in that short of a time.”
Lambros and Dimitrios couldn’t believe all that was happening. Lambros shared with Dimitrios that, just four days earlier, he had toured the hospital. Together, grateful for the incredible care their father received, Lambros and Dimitrios made a generous gift to Ocean University Medical Center Foundation.
“I believe God introduced me to this hospital at that time for a reason, and the experience our family went through blows life into the gift we made,” says Lambros. “My parents immigrated to the United States from Greece and we grew up in a loving, hard working and value centered home. Not only are we just so thankful for the care our father received, but this is also a testament to other families like ours. Everyone can make a huge difference through subtle acts of philanthropy in their local communities.”
The generous gift is also meant to acknowledge all of the team members who handled their father’s follow-up calls. “From scheduling appointments, to helping our father get the prescriptions he needed, every single team member at Ocean is a hero and they all deserve to be recognized.” To honor the care team in person, Lambros and his wife, Soula, attended a team member recognition forum to offer their praise and gratitude, particularly to Denise Schwartz, whom they presented with flowers.
Last month, Lambros and Dimitrios’ father celebrated his 78th birthday. Although their father’s summer was challenging - with recuperation being the priority and the inability to make his annual trip to Greece with his wife - he is doing much better today.
Lambros just recently joined Ocean University Medical Center Foundation’s Board of Trustees and he plans to spread the good word about the hospital, its team members and all that is possible through community support.
We are so thrilled that Mr. Lambrou was able to receive the life-saving care he needed, and incredibly grateful for the remarkable generosity of Lambros and Dimitrios. This February, as we mark American Heart Month, we would like to encourage all of our dedicated supporters to learn the signs and symptoms of heart attack and to not delay should you suspect that you or a loved one need urgent care. And if you do, please know that we are here, ready and able to render immediate help to all in need.