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MGH Hotline 8.13.10 EVERYTHING WENT WELL when Barbara Duncan had cardiac surgery at the MGH in June with surgeon Cary W. Akins, MD, co-director of the Heart Center's Heart Valve Program.

Cardiac surgery reunites old friends

13/Aug/2010

A HEARTWARMING STORY: Duncan, left, and Stella hold heart pillows they were given after their operations.

EVERYTHING WENT WELL when Barbara Duncan had cardiac surgery at the MGH in June with surgeon Cary W. Akins, MD, co-director of the Heart Center's Heart Valve Program. As is hoped with surgery, nothing unexpected occurred, except for one small, pleasant surprise: a coincidental meeting with an old friend on the Cardiac Surgical Step-Down Unit.

On the day after her surgery, Duncan caught sight of someone she knew in the hallway outside her room -- Sam Stella, the husband of her friend and former hairdresser Jeanie. He stopped by her room and explained that his wife also just had cardiac surgery one day before, also with Akins as her surgeon. Her surgery had gone well, too, and she was staying only two rooms down the hall. The husband brought his wife to Duncan's room, where the two women were thrilled to see each other. They each found great comfort in knowing they had both come to the same hospital for the same surgery with the same doctor -- and with the same excellent results.

"We were so glad to see one another," said Duncan. "I'm so thankful to Dr. Akins for healing my and Jeanie's hearts."

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