A Little Help From Friends

January 16, 2021

Typically, we photograph every patient appearing in HealthU. Because this story was planned during the surge of COVID-19, that contact would have been too risky. Instead, our team took a creative approach and replaced photo shoots with illustrated portraits of patients.

Maybe you believe in divine intervention. Or maybe you believe in good luck. Whatever you believe in, sometimes good things happen to good people.

Take Vincent Madgyesy, for instance.

On March 25, 2020, the 51-year-old Union Beach, New Jersey, resident went to work at Bayshore Medical Center, where he’s served as a maintenance mechanic for two years. On this particular day, Vincent’s task was to change the A/C filters, but he wasn’t feeling quite right.

“I had been losing vision in one of my eyes off and on, and I felt lightheaded and dizzy,” says Vincent, who has three adult daughters with his wife, Sherri. “I could tell something was wrong, but I didn’t want to make a big deal of it.”

His supervisors, however, felt otherwise.

“You could tell he was visibly distraught,” says Joe McKevitt, maintenance supervisor. “So we told him to go get checked out. ‘The work can wait. Your health comes first.’ He said he’d go on his day off, but we can be pretty persuasive, so he went right then.”

Once in the Emergency Department at Bayshore, only a few floors down from where Vincent was working, doctors quickly discovered that his carotid artery was 98 percent blocked, and he needed surgery immediately. Because a blocked carotid can increase the risk of stroke, doctors had no time to waste.

“We knew he needed help,” says Gary Sypniewski, maintenance manager. “We thought he might be a little embarrassed to go to the doctor for dizziness, but we told him, ‘Man, you don’t want to die of embarrassment, right? Just go get checked out!’”

After his surgery and a short hospital stay, Vincent stayed home from work for a month to recover. Joe and Gary checked in on him regularly and told him to take all the time he needed. Vincent says that if Joe and Gary hadn’t been there that day, he might not be alive today.

“They could’ve just told me to go get checked out on my own time, but they’re not like that,” Vincent says. “They’re always so supportive. And I feel good today because of them.”

Joe and Gary don’t feel like heroes, though. Sure, they were happy they could help, but both feel like a higher power was at play that day.

“He could’ve been anywhere, but he was at work in a hospital when it happened,” Joe says. “Maybe he was in the right place at the right time, or maybe someone was looking out for Vinny that day.”

To Vincent, that someone was Joe and Gary.

Next Steps & Resources:

  • Tell us about a team member who has gone above and beyond

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.

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