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Cardiac Surgeon Works with the Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery to Meet Needs of Jehovah's Witness Patient

The proud mother of five
children, ten grandchildren and
ten great-grandchildren, Carmen
Kerrigan is enormously
appreciative of Abington's Center
for Bloodless Medicine and
Surgery, and the dedicated
doctors, nurses and support staff
who made her successful
homecoming possible. "I would
advise anyone facing the
challenge of heart surgery to
come to Abington first," said
Kerrigan. "They're the best."

View enlarged photo

For Carmen Kerrigan, a special day occurred on the fifth of July, 2009! That's the day she came home from Abington Memorial Hospital (AMH) after quadruple heart bypass surgery, which was performed in conjunction with our Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery. "I'm feeling great," she says. "As a Jehovah's Witness, I found the perfect place and the perfect team."

Fourteen years ago, Carmen retired to Guanica, Puerto Rico, returning every summer to visit her family in Florida and Pennsylvania. This summer there were three "grandchildren graduations" on the agenda-two in Florida and one in Allentown-and, quite unexpectedly, a June 15th cardiac catheterization at Lehigh Valley Hospital.

The cardiac catheterization revealed that three of the arteries that supply blood to her heart, the coronary arteries, were almost completely closed. Immediate surgery was recommended. But...as a Jehovah's Witness, Carmen wished to abstain from receiving blood.

With the help of family and friends, Carmen soon discovered AMH's Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery. Program coordinators Nick Friedman and Debbie Trifelliti answered all of Carmen's questions and assisted her in making arrangements to prepare for surgery. Soon, she met with Willard G. Andrews, III, M.D., hematologist/oncologist from Abington's Rosenfeld Cancer Center. The hematologist's role in blood conservation is to ensure that the patient's blood levels are optimized prior to surgery. Additionally, she met with Mauricio Garrido, M.D., cardiothoracic surgeon at the Pilla Heart Center. Carmen said both physicians made her feel hopeful and confident.

On June 25, Dr. Garrido performed a procedure called a coronary artery bypass. During this procedure veins and arteries taken from the leg and the chest wall are sewn onto the surface of the heart in order to bring oxygen-rich blood to the areas of the heart at risk.

"When practicing bloodless surgery there are multiple steps we take to maximize conservation of the patients' blood - every drop is important," said Dr. Garrido. "All patients benefit from this." All members of the patient care team practice specific techniques to conserve the patients' blood. A multidisciplinary approach encompasses efforts from the preoperative evaluation by a hematologist, to the intraoperative surgical approach, to the postoperative care.

He sent Ms. Kerrigan back to her family on July 5, 2009 so she could enjoy her extended visit with her family and loved ones.

About the Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery

The Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery at Abington Memorial Hospital was established to meet the needs of patients and families who desire excellence in medical/surgical care while avoiding exposure to donated blood or primary blood components. Dedicated to creating an atmosphere of mutual understanding, trust and respect, the center combines advanced medical technology, pharmaceuticals and meticulous surgical techniques with an experienced team of healthcare professionals. 

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