Stories of Teamwork

Saving a patient's life often means pulling together multiple specialists to provide the best possible care. At the Massachusetts General Hospital Corrigan Minehan Heart Center and Fireman Vascular Center, our teams work side-by-side to provide this care. We know the value of teamwork, and our patients do too. Read how we've worked together to change these patients' lives.

Device  
How do you build a long-lasting relationship with a patient? You build a device that keeps them alive.

Allan Richardson had an abdominal aortic aneurysm, which is an abnormal enlargement of the aorta. His doctors had watched it grow for more than a year, because at 83-years-old, open surgery was too risky. Instead of turning him away, Mass General doctors fashioned a custom stent to fit his aorta, allowing them to perform the minimally invasive procedure successfully.

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Football player




A college football captain died. Then he played the following season. How's that for a comeback? It was just like any other night. David Nelson, a 22-year-old college football player, was out with some friends when a fight broke out. He tried to break it up. But instead David was stabbed in the heart and rushed to Mass General. At the hospital, his cardiac surgeon joined the emergency team and surgically repaired a 1 cm puncture in his heart. Then a miracle happened. Upon completion of the surgical repair, Nelson awoke scared and confused, but without long-term brain damage.

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Mother



A mother's last words shouldn't come before her child's first.

An aortic dissection caused pooling of blood around Gabriella Browne’s heart, as well as complications to her abdominal organs - two conditions that greatly put her life at risk. Right away a team of physicians from both the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center and Fireman Vascular Center worked together to accommodate her changing condition. At age 39, this new mother survived a combined surgery that repaired her full cardiovascular system.

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A marathon runner was in so much pain it hurt to run. But it hurt more for her to stop.

Every year Janice Williams, a 41-year-old dental assistant, runs a 10K to support breast cancer research. In 2001 she finished the race in just 46 minutes, 53 seconds. But in 2006 her finishing time slowed down to over 1 hour, 7 minutes. What could have caused this athlete to fall to the back of the pack? Oddly enough, Janice was unknowingly battling a cardiovascular condition during this time period - one severe enough to cause excruciating leg pain while running.

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Teacher



Instead of explaining a stroke to 22 third graders, we saved their teacher from having one. Basketball has treated Peter Witts well. A high school basketball coach and teacher, he has experienced the irreplaceable moments that color the sport. But basketball has also been the scene where Peter discovered a life-changing cardiovascular condition. Diagnosed with an appending pulmonary embolism, he underwent surgery at Mass General. Fortunately, today Peter still enjoys the irreplaceable moments that define basketball. Now how’s that for a win?

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Thanksgiving



Thanksgiving has a whole different meaning when it's the day you came back to life. Many Americans gather with family and friends on Thanksgiving to express all they are thankful for that year. That tradition will have new meaning for Richard Kezima as he recalls those who helped him on Thanksgiving Day in 2007 – the day he came back to life. On this particular Thanksgiving, Richard was sent to Mass General where Corrigan Minehan Heart Center surgeons successfully performed a five-vessel bypass procedure.

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patient

Request an appointment at the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center

Call the Massachusetts General Hospital Corrigan Minehan Heart Center outpatient access nurse at 866-MGH-8910

Discover the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center patient experience

Our approach to patient care brings together a team of cardiac specialists who create a personalized treatment plan for each patient.