"About 11 years ago, I was getting totally out of breath just walking to my car after work, and I told myself I'm just getting old. Then one night I woke up totally unable to breathe and I went to the emergency room at my local hospital. Their diagnosis? Asthma. No problem, go home, they said.
The next day I spoke to my son and he suggested I get a second opinion since I had never had asthma before. We decided to go to Penn because my dad always used to say, 'why go to the foot soldiers in NJ when you can go over the bridge to the generals at Penn?'
So I looked on the Internet and found Dr. Acker, a heart surgeon at Penn Medicine. I emailed him and within an hour, he personally emailed me back and referred me to a Penn cardiologist, Dr. Mariell Jessup. I called Dr. Jessup and she got me in right away, ran all kinds of tests and diagnosed me with heart failure. I needed a surgery almost immediately. It wasn't asthma at all. Thankfully, within the week, I had that surgery at Penn and all was fine for years.
Then, in 2010, I suddenly got this terrible toothache and went to the hospital. To my surprise, it was a symptom of a heart attack. Once again, I had a pacemaker and defibrillator put in at Penn. Since then, I'm feeling great. I do everything I used to do, and more. I've gotten to see three of my grandchildren being born. Penn saved my life."