For Larry Bensignor, the moments he spends with family, laughs with friends, walks in the neighborhood and listens to his favorite music are blessings he never takes for granted.

On June 5, 2016, Larry, a 62-year-old Potomac resident, was reading in his recliner when he started to feel “off.” At first, he thought it was indigestion, but it didn’t let up, and he broke out in a cold sweat. Larry alerted his wife, Fern, who called 911.

When paramedics arrived, they quickly determined Larry was experiencing a heart attack.

“It’s a strange feeling to hear sirens in your neighborhood,” Larry said, “and know they are for you.”

Cardiologist Rajeev Patel, MD, was on call when Larry arrived at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center.

“Dr. Patel told me Larry may only have minutes to live,” Fern said. “I felt numb. I could barely process what I was hearing.”

Dr. Patel cleared the blocked artery and inserted a stent. However, the blockage had triggered an abnormal heart rhythm, and the response team needed to use the defibrillator paddles – twice. Thanks to the hospital, Larry survived what is known as a “widow-maker” heart attack, which means he had 100 percent blockage in his main coronary artery.

To express their gratitude, the Bensignors have made multiple gifts to the hospital, and Larry recently took his dedication even further by joining Shady Grove Medical Center Foundation’s board of trustees.

“Dr. Patel and Shady Grove Medical Center saved my life,” said Larry, who served as executive vice president and general counsel of EagleBank before retiring last year. “I want other patients who need help to receive the best care possible.”

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