A grateful heart

When Carol Counihan began having heart trouble three years ago, she knew exactly where to turn for help.

“I was born at Doylestown Hospital,” she says. “All of our children and all but one of our grandchildren were born here.”

Her mother was one of the first two volunteers in the hospital’s history.

With Doylestown Health ranked in the top 50 cardiovascular hospitals in the country by IBM Watson, there was no question in her mind that it was the best choice for her care.

Carol first came to the emergency department at Doylestown Hospital with atrial fibrillation (AFib), which was making her short of breath.

After some tests, her doctors determined that her heart was suffering from severe mitral regurgitation.

Joseph Auteri, MD, chief of cardiac surgery and medical director of the newly named Woodall Center for Heart and Vascular Care at Doylestown Health, was her surgeon.

He recommended open heart surgery to repair the mitral valve and perform an ablation (called a maze procedure) to get her out of AFib.

Carol and her husband saw the advantages: a nationally recognized cardiovascular program in their own familiar community, with doctors who knew them and their family. “Dr. Auteri is a renowned surgeon with 25 years of experience – he went to the same Central Bucks high school as our own kids!” says Carol. “That’s the kind of community we are. From the outstanding doctors to the entire staff, I could not have gotten better care anywhere else.”

That was in October.

Recovered from her surgery, Carol felt “a big desire to give back” to the hospital and the community that supports it. By January, she had been invited to join the steering committee of Friends of the Heart Institute, a volunteer organization that supports cardiovascular care at Doylestown Health through community events, fundraisers, and membership donations.

When asked about her experience at Doylestown Health, Carol says, “I tell people what an amazing group of people they have right here in our own community. These folks all love what they do, care about their patients, and get along incredibly well. It’s a wonderful environment.”

Doylestown Health has been leading with heart since 1978, when then-president and CEO, Richard A. Reif led the establishment of the Heart Institute.

Today, the Woodall Center for Heart and Vascular Care is a comprehensive world-class cardiovascular program providing advanced and routine care with state-of-the-art technology and an uncompromising dedication to excellence.

PHOTO CAP: Carol Counihan