People normally aren’t thankful for kidney stones, one of
the most painful experiences a person can have in life. But Dennis McElhaney is
thankful for the kidney stone that led to the discovery of four blocked
“They said I was one of those guys who could have fallen
over dead one day from a massive heart attack,” said McElhaney, 56, of Visalia,
whose arteries were blocked at 100 percent, 95 percent, 95 percent and 90
McElhaney is one of the many patients who have been cared
for at Kaweah Delta since its open-heart surgery program was established. He
was treated by Dr. Sergio Caminha, a Mayo Clinic-trained cardiothoracic
surgeon, who is leading cardiac services at Kaweah Delta Medical Center. Dr. Caminha
is joined by Dr. Leheb Araim, Kaweah Delta Physician of the Year in 2010. Under
new leadership, cardiac patients at Kaweah Delta are experiencing
higher-quality outcomes with decreased complications such as a renal failure
and re-operation rates. To further improve cardiac care, Kaweah Delta is
evaluating affiliation with an academic medical center renown for supporting
excellence in the delivery of this vital service.
What sets cardiac care at Kaweah Delta apart from others
throughout the Central Valley? Kaweah Delta’s cardiothoracic support team is
made up of on-site hospital intensivists (critical care physicians), nurses
specially-trained in cardiothoracic surgical and cardiac care and
cardiac-trained physician anesthesiologists.
“When something like this happens, you want the best care
you can get. I really think I got that at Kaweah Delta, I really do,” he said.
Now McElhaney says there will be more time to spend with his
wife, son and 6-year-old grandson Benicio.