Gratitude Stories – Jay

Grateful Patient Says His Heart Is in Good Hands

Jay Grutman

It was December 2002 and Jay Grutman was driving from his home in Rhode Island to his winter residence in Florida. But on a highway in South Carolina, he suffered a heart attack. After two weeks in a hospital there, he finally made it to the Sunshine State.

Jay, then just 44 years old, started looking for follow-up care, yet found himself “grossly disappointed” with his options.

“I was a nervous wreck, and it was pressing on my mind,” he remembers, “because I only have one heart and one life to live.”

Fortunately, a friend recommended a cardiologist back home: Daniel J. Levine, MD, Director of the Advanced Heart Failure Program at Rhode Island Hospital. Two decades later, Jay is still his patient.

“The life expectancy for 50 percent of patients with Jay’s severity of heart damage is five years,” Dr. Levine reports. “He’s at 20 years and counting.” Over time, Dr. Levine and his team have monitored Jay closely, taken steps to control his disease progression and risk factors, and employed drug therapies they know work to ensure the functional capacity and oxygen output of his heart. Additionally, they’ve outfitted him with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator—a small battery-powered device placed in his chest to detect and stop irregular heartbeats.

“I’m alive today thanks to Dr. Levine and his team,” a grateful Jay insists, “and whenever I have a concern, I’m on the phone to Dan and he fixes it. What’s better than that?

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