March 10, 2019
A longtime board member of the Jersey Shore University Medical Center Foundation, John Reinhardt liked to think of himself as a “secret shopper” who gets a close-up view of the hospital’s facilities, programs and expertise as part of his volunteer role. But little did he know just how he’d put that unique perspective to use.
John toured Jersey Shore’s Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit when it first opened in 2014, joking that he wanted to get to know the highly trained team and facility “while I could walk in on my own two feet.” He was glad he did, because when he had to be wheeled in, in May 2018, the Colts Neck, New Jersey, resident knew he was in great hands.
John, then 61, was having coffee with friends at a local restaurant when vague but worrisome symptoms—tugging in his chest, weakness in his left shoulder and slight tingling in his arms—prompted him to call his Jersey Shore cardiologist Brett Sealove, M.D. Urged to get checked immediately, John saw the hospital through a different lens: that of a patient in need of emergency care.
Through a series of diagnostic tests, John learned he had an 80 percent blockage of four coronary arteries. He required quadruple bypass surgery and subsequent cardiac rehabilitation, which has brought him back to full health with an even fuller appreciation for the expertise he and all Hackensack Meridian Health patients receive.
“Knowing we have a cutting-edge facility with the highest level of doctors, I was at peace knowing I was in the right spot,” John says.
John’s recent experience only adds to the indelible impression he already held of the outstanding care offered by Hackensack Meridian Health. He credits the 12-year survival of his late father, Kenneth Reinhardt, through two bouts of lung cancer to tenacious Jersey Shore oncologist Kenneth Nahum, D.O. When Reinhardt’s then 4-year-old grandson, Derek Reisz, suffered a rare and potentially deadly infection three years ago, Rose St. Fleur, M.D., Samuel Engel, M.D., and the team at K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital swiftly operated to remove the threat at the base of the boy’s brain and spinal cord. Today, fully recovered, Derek lives a full, happy life.
John’s personal gratitude makes the 20 hours he spends each month on Foundation activities, including meetings, fundraising and community education, seem a pittance by comparison.
“We’ll never regret one minute,” John says. He and his wife Dawn, who is on two boards with Hackensack Meridian Health, are also donors. “It’s not just the financial aspect of giving money—it’s time and talent,” he says. “We look at ourselves as good stewards. We feel it’s a sound investment in our community that we all will benefit from.”
Meridian Health Foundation is currently in the middle of a comprehensive campaign, Giving Heals. Learn more about Giving Heals, or make a donation.