Susie Believed in Finding the Best Heart Surgeon

September 28, 2017

Susie VanHuss found the best heart surgery program for her was Providence

Susie VanHuss Believes the Research.
And Research Points to Providence.

Dr. Susie VanHuss, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Management in the Moore School of Business and author of numerous textbooks, knows the importance of research. When her husband needed a valve replacement, she did her homework to find a top-quality heart program that she could trust with her husband of 40 years.

Susie VanHuss researched the best heart surgery programs and found Providence Well-versed in the world of research, Susie was interested in a variety of factors, including medical evidence on outcomes, qualifications of medical teams, and surveys based on patient satisfaction and experiences. She was surprised to see that Providence Health ranked as good as or better than the nation’s top hospitals. “I looked at a number of major hospitals, including Mayo and Cleveland Clinic; and Providence was in the same category,” said Susie. “Their outcome-based stats were the same.”

"He said he came here because of the team and work environment."

She spoke with various doctors, too, for their input. One thing that was repeatedly mentioned was the experienced team of specialized nurses, doctors, and anesthesiologists who have long worked together in operating rooms used exclusively for heart procedures. She said, “One doctor said to me, ‘how could a Jewish boy coming out of Miami with offers from several major hospitals choose Providence?’ He said he came here because of the team and work environment.”

“Pat looked at the research, as well,” said Susie. “We make a strong team – we always have.”

What their research found was quality scores, patient satisfaction, and an all-star team here at home. “When we put all that together—we were confident that Providence was the place for us.”

Pat had several conditions that needed to be corrected in his heart.

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Susie sat with Pat’s brother for the roughly nine hours of surgery, and was updated every 30 to 45 minutes by a physician’s assistant. When it was over, Pat had received five bypasses, an aortic valve replacement and two ablations.

“I saw Pat afterwards, and he was chipper as he could be,” said Susie. “He stayed in cardiac intensive care for a day or so, but he was up and walking.”

The Providence team talked to Pat about rehab and diet. “When we got back home after the surgery, he enrolled in Providence cardiac rehab and we started walking. Soon he was back to a normal routine.”

“We’ve both gotten into the mode of healthy eating and exercising. He goes in for his check-ups regularly and our lifestyle has IMPROVED,” said Susie.

One of the concerns that lingered for Pat was the atrial fibrillation that was detected during his surgery. They consulted a physician who was highly recognized for his expertise and research in treating atrial fibrillation at another of the nation’s leading hospitals about a new drug to control heart rhythm. The physician prescribed the new drug, and he and Pat agreed that he should return to Providence to begin the treatment.

During the first night of the drug treatment under careful monitoring, Pat’s cardiologist at Providence noted that his heart stopped for two to three seconds several times. The next night, his heart stopped for four to five seconds. His cardiologist put in a pacemaker the next day to ensure his heart continues to beat appropriately at night.

The VanHuss believes in open heart surgery at Providence HealthThe VanHusses also keep their hearts going with healthy lifestyle choices.

They eat healthy, workout with a trainer at a fitness center two days a week, and walk their dogs in their neighborhood 2½ miles three days a week.

Pat and Susie continue to believe in Providence Health. Pat volunteers at the hospital, asking patients about the quality of their care and service at Providence Hospital. His favorite quote came from a dapper gentleman who responded forcefully: “Of course, good care, good service! This is Providence!”  Susie became involved with Providence when she was asked to serve on the Providence Hospital Development Foundation. Today, she proudly sits as the Chair of the Providence Health Board of Trustees.

Their appreciation for Providence, though, stems from their time as patients. “If anyone asked me where I would go, my response would be:  I recently needed a heart cath and obviously chose Providence without question,” said Susie. “The compassion of the people and the way they communicated on our three experiences was incredible. We believe in Providence; Providence is our hospital.”

Pat and Susie VanHuss are featured in Providence’s #IBelieve commercials launched in September 2017.