I attended St. Louis University in Missouri for medical school and completed my residency and internship at St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center of New York. I did trauma training at the Rudy Giuliani Trauma Center at St. Vincent’s Hospital.
My parents always told me that I would become a doctor, so I did. During the sixth grade, my uncle (from New Jersey) had a heart attack and went to the Cleveland Clinic to receive care. I became interested in how the heart worked and where Ohio was located. Soon after, another relative required bypass surgery. When I was in high school, my father died of a ruptured abdominal aneurism and I knew medicine was my career.
During my training, I loved cardiac surgery from the start. I would get up at 3 or 4 am and be the first person there, ready for patients. At that time, cardiac surgery was really coming into its own, and I was in a progressive program. I loved the miracle of stopping the heart, putting it on a machine and then starting the heart back up again. I love helping people who are as sick as they can possibly be and building them back up again.
After school, I was recruited to Texas to do cardiac surgery, and then recruited from Texas to Fort Wayne, Indiana to perform heart and lung transplants. That lifestyle was tough on my family. I took a job at the Jersey Shore Heart Institute in New Jersey, and began looking for a program that was truly a startup and one that was near water. My uncle had stayed in a hotel in Sandusky and he thought I would like it here. I grew up in New Jersey and on weekends, we’d always go to the shore. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool to live where you vacation?” That’s what we have here in Sandusky. We live in a place that is where I want to be when I’m not working.
It was exciting for me to join Firelands and help develop a quality heart program. We want people to know how important it is to get care for heart issues immediately. Other hospitals in Cleveland or Toledo do more cases than we do, but that doesn’t mean they do a better job. I know quality. I’ve worked in bigger institutions. Quality is quality… and that is what patients get here at Firelands.