Operating on a Beating Heart; Tackling Major Killers: Heart Disease; Exclusive Online Issues; by Cornelius Borst; 4 Page(s)
After climbing just one flight of stairs, Mr. Patnaki must rest before he ascends to the next story. He feels as though an elephant has stepped on his chest. Such pain results from blockages in Mr. Patnaki's coronary arteries, the vessels that supply oxygen-rich blood to the muscles of the heart. He needs coronary artery bypass surgery but cannot afford the operation and the lengthy hospital stay required. (In the U.S., for example, the surgery and hospitalization cost around $45,000; in Europe, about half this amount.)
Mrs. Wales is an elderly lady crippled by attacks of chest pain after just the slightest movement. Getting up and putting on her clothes takes at least an hour. She badly needs a coronary bypass. Fortunately, she lives near a cardiac care facility, and her medical insurance will pay for the procedure. Yet Mrs. Wales has lung problems and kidney disease, and she recently suffered a stroke. The cardiac surgeon considers it too dangerous to perform a bypass operation on her.