When 49-year old Stephen collapsed while waiting for a Metro train at 5:30 am outside Washington D.C., a passenger caught him before he hit the ground. The part-time window display dresser/student knew he wasn't going to make it to work that autumn day. Metro officials called an ambulance and Stephen was taken to the emergency room at George Washington University Hospital.
He told doctors about feeling tired and sleeping for three-four days straight when not working or taking classes or caring for his father who was recovering from a stroke. An echocardiogram (a sound wave picture of the heart) was performed and doctors discovered a tumor the size of a potato in the heart (atrial myxoma). He was told he needed to prepare for open heart surgery as soon as possible. He told doctors he was between careers and had gambled he'd be able to do a year or two without adequate insurance until he could get a new job.
On the night before surgery was scheduled, Stephen learned his small insurance policy was canceled. George Washington University Hospital cardiologists Dr. Richard Katz and Dr. Gregory Trachiotis went to work making phone calls and arranged to have The Larry King Cardiac Foundation step in and provide the needed financial assistance. Surgery took place on October 24th (a month after the fall at the Metro stop) and today, Stephen is continuing his study of Geographic Information Science. “To everyone who has provided money to The Larry King Cardiac Foundation, I say thank you,” he says, “and I want each of you to know I'm excited about knowing what it's like to have energy to do things again.”
This three-year-old child has suffered from a ventricular septal defect or a large hole in her heart - as well as a patent ductus blood vessel that did not close after her birth. The result was significant limitation in exercise tolerance as well as an inability to gain weight. She also developed numerous infections. Claire came to Children's National Medical Center to have these cardiac problems corrected. She was able to leave the hospital after just three days. Her family in Uganda is grateful to The Larry King Cardiac Foundation because, had this surgery not been performed, it was estimated that Claire would probably not have lived beyond the age of 10.