Beebe Healthcare passes milestone with 1,000th open heart surgery

Bob Davis of Bethany Beach is Beebe's 1,000th cardiac surgery patient. He is looking forward to warmer days so he can play golf. SOURCE SUBMITTED
January 28, 2014

Beebe Healthcare’s Cardiac Services has passed a milestone, reflecting the high quality of medical care available to visitors and residents in southern Delaware.

Beebe Healthcare cardiothoracic surgeons M. L. Ray Kuretu, MD, and Nnamdi Azie, MD, together with the specialized cardiac surgery team, performed the 1,000th open heart surgery at the medical center in Lewes.

Bethany Beach resident Bob Davis, the patient, and his wife, Mary Davis, were so happy with the care provided at Beebe that they agreed to take part in the promotion of Beebe’s Cardiac Surgery program.

“For me, it wasn’t about the number at the time,” said Kuretu, medical director of cardiac surgery. “Mr. Davis was my concern. Each patient is important, and each operation is important to help that patient.”

“The experience was a good one, before, during and after the surgeries,” Mary Davis said, describing how all the specialists involved in Bob’s care, including the respiratory therapist, dietician, pharmacist, and case manager, as well as the physicians and nurses, visited Bob each morning as part of the daily rounds.

“We were happy with the procedure and with the cardiac team. We also found Beebe to be a very friendly environment from the moment we stepped into the door until the time we left,” she added.

Bob Davis, 78, said he didn’t know he had cardiovascular disease. Last summer, when he took a break while he was cutting the grass, he didn’t think he could have a health problem. Even when he passed out on the golf course in July, he blamed the incident on the sweltering 100-degree weather. In the fall, a friend suggested he check out his heart because of his age and because he didn’t seem to have as much energy as he did in the past.

“I felt fine,” Bob recalled. But when he went to have a stress test, he could not complete it.

On Oct. 9, 2013, interventional cardiologist and Cardiac Cath Lab Director Ehtasham Qureshi, MD, performed a diagnostic cardiac catheterization. After Bob failed his stress test, and finding multiple blockages in his coronary arteries, Qureshi determined that Bob had blockages that were too many and too serious for angioplasty, so he called in Kuretu and Azie, who also is board certified in vascular surgery. Bob was also found to have blockages in his carotid arteries. Bob needed both heart surgery and carotid artery surgery.

“He was very sick,” Kuretu recalled months later. “Many in our older population here, like Mr. Davis, have complex medical problems, often without realizing it.”

Azie performed the carotid artery surgery Oct. 13 to improve the flow of blood to Bob’s brain. Two days later, Kuretu and Azie performed the quadruple coronary bypass surgery to improve the flow of blood to Bob’s heart.

Today, Bob and Mary are back at home, getting outside whenever they can. Bob is looking forward to the nice days so he can get back on the golf course.

“Our patients do well,” Kuretu said. “Mr. Davis is an example. Today, he is living his life, and that makes me feel good.”

Beebe Healthcare offers a comprehensive cardiac and vascular program that includes cardiac surgery, interventional cardiology, electrophysiology, vascular surgery and interventions, a full range of cardiac and vascular testing and monitoring, and cardiac rehab. For more information, call 302-645-3300, or go to