Giving Heals

February 7, 2019

Inspired by the care he received, Oceanport resident makes generous donations to elevate the patient experience even further.

Four years ago, when Bob Santimauro moved to Oceanport, he knew he wanted to give back to a local organization. He decided that Hackensack Meridian Health, with its state-of-the-art care and rapid expansion, was a perfect match. Little did he know that just a few years later he would experience firsthand the compassionate, expert-level care the health network provides for patients every single day.

AN UNEXPECTED DIAGNOSIS AND LIFESAVING TREATMENT

In August 2017, Bob experienced chest discomfort. He visited David Drout, M.D., a cardiologist at Riverview Medical Center, who performed a thallium stress test to track how well blood was flowing through Bob’s heart. Based on the results, Dr. Drout referred Bob to Aristotelis Vlahos, M.D., an interventional cardiologist at Riverview, for further testing.

Before his scheduled appointment, however, Bob developed chest pain and went to the Emergency Department at Riverview. Doctors determined that he’d suffered a heart attack. Just a few days later at Riverview, Dr. Vlahos performed a cardiac catheterization, a minimally invasive diagnostic procedure, to find out exactly what was happening inside Bob’s heart. Dr. Vlahos discovered Bob had several significant blockages and recommended he undergo quadruple bypass surgery to restore blood flow throughout his heart. A few days after that, David Johnson, M.D., a cardiothoracic surgeon at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, performed Bob’s bypass surgery. “During my stay at Jersey Shore, I came in touch with so many wonderful employees, including doctors, nurses, technicians and many others,” he says.

“Every single interaction I had exceeded all of my expectations. Everyone was phenomenal.”

A WORTHY CAUSE

After his 10-day hospital stay, Bob knew he wanted to do even more to support Riverview and Jersey Shore. He decided to make a significant five-year monetary pledge to Riverview in addition to donating 21 brand-new iPads for patients to use at Jersey Shore. “Every aspect of the patient experience was above and beyond,” he says. “I noticed that enabling patients to use iPads could help elevate the experience even more.”

Today, Bob is feeling well. He recently completed cardiac rehabilitation at Riverview, increased his physical activity and shed more than 30 pounds to help keep his heart healthy.

“Both the medical care I received at Riverview Medical Center and the lifesaving surgery at Jersey Shore opened my eyes to how fortunate we are to have these world-class facilities available right here in New Jersey,” Bob says. “The environment, the people and the expertise are second to none. For individuals looking to give back, I can’t think of a better opportunity to make a difference than Hackensack Meridian Health.

MAKE A DIFFERENCE
To make a donation in support of your local hospital, visit HackensackMeridianHealth.org/GivingHeals.