Stories from the Heart

Having a sick child can be very stressful for parents, especially when the cause is unknown. At our hospital, parents can be sure that their child will receive high quality treatment and services. One parent was kind enough to share his child’s story and experience at our hospital.

Omar Ahmed, Age 8 

For several years, Mokarram Ahmed had noticed his 8-year-old child, Omar, (pictured, right) was suffering from shortness of breath and had difficulty gaining weight. Omar’s gym teachers also noticed that he had trouble participating in gym class and was unable to keep up with his classmates.

At a routine doctor’s visit, Omar was sent to our emergency room for having an oxygen level of only 84 percent, meaning his body was oxygen starved. Maria Thanjan, M.D., pediatric cardiologist, diagnosed Omar with a cyanotic heart defect, causing deoxygenated blood to bypass the lungs and enter the systemic circulation that provides blood throughout the body.

This diagnosis required Omar to have open-heart surgery. Since his surgery, Omar is no longer out of breath and very active. He is now able to run around with his friends and live a normal childhood.

“The service at NYP/Queens was exceptional. My son received very great treatment here,” said Mr. Ahmed. “I am very glad we came to this hospital.”

For more information on our Children’s Health services, visit our web page,, or call 718-670-1033.

The patient’s family granted written permission, in accordance with HIPAA regulations, to use the patient’s name and information for the purposes of this testimonial.

On a daily basis, we receive letters from patients and their families that commend the professional and compassionate care provided by our hospital team. We recently received a letter from Cary Passik, M.D., the chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut, who said, “I want to take a moment to write you with my gratitude for an extraordinary patient experience.”

Dr. Passik could have taken his mother anywhere, but he felt confident that his mother’s heart was in expert hands at our hospital. An endorsement for our care and medical expertise from another cardiothoracic expert speaks volumes about our team.

Adele Passik, Age 81

Adele Passik, 81, of Jackson Heights, usually enjoys eggplant for dinner. That was not the case one evening this past July. After her evening meal at home she began to get indigestion, nausea, cold sweats and chest pain. She thought it might be food poisoning. She never thought it could be a heart attack.

The following day she spoke with her son, the head of Cardiothoracic Surgery at a Connecticut hospital, who had coincidently called her for an impromptu brunch date. Mrs. Passik told her son she wasn't feeling well and explained her symptoms. Playing it safe, they went to the emergency room at NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens, where she had been for care in the past.

"She was whisked through triage in the ER where her EKG showed new changes compared to an EKG she had in January, and it was clear that she had had a heart attack some time between January and the present," said her son, Cary S. Passik, M.D. "Cardiac enzymes had come back positive thereafter so we knew for sure that this was a recent event."

After being stabilized in the emergency room, she was transferred to the Coronary Care Unit. Due to recurrent chest pain the next morning, she was immediately taken to the Cardiac Catheterization Lab for a better look at her arteries with an angiogram performed by Chong Park, M.D, director, Interventional Cardiology, and, director, division of Cardiology. The angiogram showed that she had three blocked arteries. She would need heart surgery.

"As a cardiac surgeon trained in the city [Manhattan] and at the Mayo Clinic and having practiced at Yale for nearly 20 years, I certainly know quite a few colleagues that I could turn to," said Dr. Passik. "I turned to Drs. Park, Gustafson and Sayeed at NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens, and they all said without any hesitation whatsoever, 'Get it done here-- we have a great team.' I met cardiothoracic surgeons Drs. Lang and Mack and their surgical PAs, and I was reassured that I was making the correct decision to have her surgery done at NYP/Queens."

Five weeks after her eggplant dinner on  that July night, Mrs. Passik came in for a routine follow-up appointment with Samuel Lang, M.D., her surgeon, and chairman, Cardiothoracic Surgery (pictured, right) . She had nothing but good things to say about her experience.

"Each and every person -- from the ICUs, the floors, all of the nurses-- were like angels to me," said Mrs. Passik, a mother of two children and grandmother of five.

As a retired administrator from Elmhurst Hospital, Mrs. Passik is no stranger to the health care industry and life in a hospital. "The doctors were so good to us, we felt like a part of the family. In medicine today, it's very hard to get that feeling."

Today, Mrs. Passik is thankful for her recovery and her decision to have surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens. She is glad she can continue her hobbies, such as playing mah jongg and having wine and cheese parties with her friends. She relishes her independence—and telling the story of her hospital experience. “It has a happy ending, after all,” she said.

Great outcomes like this story happen at NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens every day.

The patient granted written permission, in accordance with HIPAA regulations, to use her name and information for the purposes of this testimonial.

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