Patient Stories

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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Sarah and Chris Costa at their wedding, May 14, 2011
Chris Costa, a 26-year-old paramedic in Connecticut, was taking a quick ride on his motorcycle when he was sideswiped by a truck. He sustained serious trauma, including seven broken ribs and a broken right femur, and was rushed to St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport.
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Dr. Sheldon Feldman discusses his involvement with Sharsheret, an organization promoting awareness of breast cancer in the Jewish community.
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In September, 2008, Melissa, then a healthy 27-year old, started feeling short of breath. She became so ill that her family called 911 and she was rushed to NewYork-Presbyterian/Allen Hospital, where she had a dangerously low oxygen levels and was placed on a mechanical ventilator to help her breathe.
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When she made a trip to her local emergency room for a heart problem in 2009, Rokshana Husain could not have foreseen the complex journey that visit would initiate. Not satisfied with her initial diagnosis, Rokshana sought a second opinion at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia, which proved to be a life-saving decision. Read Rokshana's story of beating pancreatic cancer.
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Robert Loftus
Robert Loftus tripped while catching the game-winning touchdown pass in a football game with friends. He broke his leg — both his tibia and fibula — and was rushed to the ER at Hudson Valley Hospital Center.
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