Before traveling 5,000 miles, Chris Barritt makes a stop at Washington Adventist Hospital
With a 5,000-mile cross-country trip just a few months away, Chris Barritt, 57, of Carroll County was shocked when doctors told him he would need open-heart surgery to remove a heart tumor.
The diagnosis “felt surreal, like a dream,” Barritt says. What started as an ordinary day was interrupted when he suddenly experienced strokelike symptoms, notably the inability to speak a full sentence.
He was rushed to the hospital, where doctors said he was experiencing a transient ischemic attack, or TIA, which occurs when blood flow to part of the brain is briefly halted. After several follow-up tests, he was told to visit his cardiologist, who detected a heart tumor while performing an echocardiogram. The doctor called David Brill, M.D., interventional cardiologist and director of the cardiac catheterization lab at Washington Adventist Hospital, and instructed Barritt to go directly to the hospital.
“This was the second time in my entire life I had been in the hospital,” Barritt says. As an avid walker with two dogs and young grandchildren, Barritt exercised regularly and practiced a healthy lifestyle.
Paul Massimiano, MD, heart surgeon and program director of cardiac surgery at Washington Adventist Hospital, performed open heart surgery to remove Barritt’s tumor.
Before surgery, Barritt started to have doubts that he would be able to recover in time for his scheduled motorcycle trip through Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and parts of Canada, but Dr. Massimiano put his mind at ease. “Dr. Massimiano was very reassuring,” Barritt says. “He felt I would be healed in time and said I should continue planning.”
Adds Dr. Massimiano: “Heart patients who have well-established healthy eating and exercise habits have an advantage during the recovery period. I was confident Chris would follow the right steps on the road to recovery and we’d get him back to his adventurous lifestyle.”
After Barritt’s surgery, the cardiac team at Washington Adventist Hospital, along with a host of family, helped him get back on his feet and back on his motorcycle.
Washington Adventist Hospital has a coordinated team of cardiac and intensive care doctors, nurses, technicians and rehabilitation therapists who work together to offer personalized and caring treatment aimed at mobilizing patients as quickly as possible to aid in their recovery.
“My entire team of doctors and nurses was truly concerned about my care and my health,” Barritt says. Sure enough, just a few months after surgery, Barritt was able to take his cross-country motorcycle road trip as planned.
“There is life after heart surgery,” Barritt says. “You’ve got to get moving and listen to your doctor’s orders!”