Patient Stories

After undergoing sleeve gastrectomy for weight loss, Gina C. is healthy, happy and fit.
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Multidisciplinary program offers novel, expert care to newborns with vascular anomalies
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Jasmine Figueroa was an athletic child who enjoyed playing running, bowling and playing handball with her friends in the Bronx. After age 10, she was treated for bronchitis and asthma. At 13, she developed a heart murmur, and was referred to the Children's Hospital at NewYork-Presbyterian where she was diagnosed with HCM. For the next few years, pediatric cardiologists were able to control Jasmine's symptoms with minimal medication. Her life returned to normal–with a few restrictions–at age 19, a healthy Jasmine gave birth to her first child.
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In his late 20s, John Cruz worked in a Brooklyn warehouse, lifting heavy boxes and enjoyed playing football with his nephews in the local park. Over the next few years, he was hampered by asthma and chest pains—early signs of HCM. Finally doctors at Methodist Hospital discovered an irregular heartbeat and gave John a pacemaker. When John was 37, he needed an implantable defibrillator to deliver a shock to his heart, when necessary and prevent sudden cardiac death.
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Pamela Abma at MS Bike-a-Thon
The Road to Recovery: Just Over a Year Later, ECMO Patient Completes Bike-A-Thon.
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At age 31, cystic fibrosis patient Timothy Sweeney needed a double lung transplant. Less than one year later, he ran the New York City Marathon with his transplant surgeon, Joshua Sonett, MD.
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Linda Lashen's story is a dramatic one: over 17 sudden deaths in her family in four generations, with no apparent cause. When a teen-aged cousin died suddenly in 1986, a physician performed an autopsy and discovered an abnormal thickening of the septum associated with HCM. Later, the family was genetically tested. Three out of six siblings were affected—Linda and her two older brothers John and Michael, though none showed any symptoms at the time.
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For as long as he could remember, Alexander Vasquez struggled with his weight. His weight rose with the years — 100 pounds in kindergarten, 400 pounds by 9th grade. After several attempts at losing weight during his 20’s, his weight rose to almost 600 pounds. For the next few years, Alex felt resigned to being big forever. After undergoing sleeve gastrectomy at the Center for Advanced Surgery, Alex has lost over 160 pounds and couldn’t be happier with his results and his experience at Lawrence Hospital. He shares his story here.
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In 1999, Margaret Fiore Lizardi was in her mid-50s with a high-powered job—Director of Administration for a New York law firm. Her doctors discovered a calcification of the aortic valve that may have resulted from a childhood bout of rheumatic fever. Surgeons replaced Margaret's valve and later gave her a pacemaker. But in 2005, she was diagnosed with stenosis of the aorta and her symptoms were so severe she could no longer work. After consulting with specialists all over the country, Margaret finally met with Drs. Mehmet Oz, Donna Mancini and others at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia. Their verdict: in a few years' time, she would need an LVAD and then a donor heart.
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Sue Mirza continues the crucial work her husband began, by helping to fund critical research into the genetic causes of pancreatic cancer.
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