Grateful Patient Gives ‘Heartfelt’ Matching Gift

Steve Bright and family
Robyn, Carter, Cole and Steve Bright

Steve Bright is grateful he took his wife’s advice. After not going to the doctor for many years, he finally agreed to go when he turned 50.

A consultation with Cardiologist John Mahowald, MD, led to an angiogram that showed his heart had severe blockage. This meant he was no longer a candidate for stents and was referred to Cardiac Surgeon John Castro, MD, who compared Steve’s heart to the heart of a “90-year-old man” and scheduled him for open heart surgery requiring five bypasses. He also sent Steve home with a prescription for nitroglycerin and told him to always keep the pills and his cell phone with him until he underwent open heart surgery.

The seriousness of his situation made Steve take the time to get his personal and business affairs in order before his surgery.

Thankfully, Steve and patients like him are in skilled hands. In fact, in 2022, U.S. News & World Report ranked CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center 30th out of 800 cardiology and heart surgery programs across the nation. The rankings are based on survival rates, patient experience, level of nursing care and success in helping patients return home.

“Dr. Mahowald and Dr. Castro saved my life,” said Steve. “And all the staff who cared for me during my hospital stay and during cardiac rehab were fabulous. I was not a “work-out-person,” but I went to Cardiac Rehab faithfully two to three times a week for 32 weeks. My biggest disappointment was when it ended.”

CentraCare can provide this high level of heart care, in part, thanks to generous donors. Community giving helps CentraCare provide life-saving technology to treat blocked arteries in the heart, perform open-heart and vascular surgery, treat heart-beat problems, fix poor leg circulation, as well as other services that focus on heart disease prevention.

Future gifts will help to create a cardiac rehab teaching kitchen with a full-sized cooktop and oven, as well as a camera and monitors that offer patients a “bird’s eye view” of heart healthy recipe demonstrations prepared by dietitians.

Granit City Motor CarTo show his appreciation for the care he received, Steve’s business, Granite City Motor Car, will match all donations made to CentraCare Foundation by Dec. 31— up to $100,000.

“The care I received from the heart center team left a lasting impression on me,” added Steve. “I have been blessed in my life and believe in giving back to help others.”

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