Four years ago, Robert had a major heart attack that killed all but 15 percent of his heart.

Fortunately, in the years that followed, he was doing reasonably well. Though his weakened heart certainly reduced his quality of life, doctors were able to manage his condition with various medications. But in 2012, he ended up back in the hospital with massive amounts of cardiac fluid.

After being diagnosed with aortic stenosis and severe coronary artery disease, Robert and his wife Peggy met with Dr. Mark Bladergroen at Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center. With Robert’s life in jeopardy, the decision was made to have a balloon pump and open heart surgery to replace a valve and do a coronary bypass.

Three weeks later, Robert went into the intensive care unit, and the balloon pump surgery was performed that day. Three days later, he had the open heart surgery — a seven-and-a-half-hour procedure.

“If he didn’t have the surgery, the doctors assured us he’d be dead within six months,” says Peggy.

Thanks to careful planning and expert care, both surgeries were successful. Today, Robert is doing well and Peggy couldn’t be more grateful to Dr. Bladergroen and the team at Memorial Regional Center.

“We both firmly believe the reason he’s here today is that three-week interval where the staff did wonderful preparation for the surgery,” says Peggy. “They followed with us from the beginning to the end.”

For Peggy, good help was getting her Christmas present early. And for Robert, it’s being around to see his first grandchild.