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Friday, Feb. 13 was a lucky day for 13 fortunate heart patients who were reunited with the doctors who saved them at St. Francis Hospital, The Heart Center, located in Roslyn.

The pre-Valentine's Day "Beat the Odds Brunch" was held on Feb. 13, in the DeMatteis Pavilion lobby at St. Francis. The event is part of hospital activities marking American Heart Month, spotlighting the physicians, patients and state-of-the-art technology on the front line in the fight against our nation's number one killer - heart disease.

"As the only specialty designated cardiac center in New York, we perform more cardiac procedures than any other hospital in the state," said Alan D. Guerci, M.D., president and CEO. "These patients are living proof of the importance of an experienced, caring approach in the treatment of heart disease."

Among the patients featured at this year's event was Julie Lyksell, the first patient to be saved by an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) carried in a Suffolk Police patrol car. Julie was subsequently treated by Stuart Schecter, M.D., at the world-renowned Arrhythmia Center at St. Francis Hospital, and is now a national spokeswoman for the need for AEDs in public places.

Another featured speaker was Carmine Campanello, who suffered from rheumatic fever as a child and congestive heart failure as an adult. Carmine was underinsured, but with the help of Louise Spadaro, M.D., Director of the Hospital's Outreach Program, he received life-saving heart valve surgery.

"Dr. Spadaro treated me like gold," said Carmine of his favorite doctor. "I wouldn't be here without her." He and other patients presented cards, chocolate and flowers to express their heartfelt thanks to the 13 cardiac doctors who helped them beat the odds and gave them the good fortune of celebrating many more Valentine's Days.


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