This holiday season, Bryant Sandridge is celebrating a very special heart anniversary.
Bryant, in his early thirties, was diagnosed with aortic valve regurgitation at this time last year. The diagnosis was a bit of a surprise as Bryant’s Bon Secours cardiologist, Sameer Rohatgi, M.D., FACC, revealed he was otherwise a relatively healthy man.
From there, Bryant met with Brody Wehman, M.D., a Bon Secours cardiac surgeon (pictured above) and it was determined he would need an aortic valve replacement. Surgery was scheduled for the near future. However, while Dr. Rohatgi did some follow up testing with Bryant to checked blood cultures, he discovered a leaky valve due to infection. The infection was treated, but the surgery now needed to happen within days instead of weeks.
Since Dr. Wehman was out of town for a conference, another cardiac surgeon performed Bryant’s aortic valve replacement procedure at Bon Secours – Memorial Regional Medical Center. The surgery went well initially. However, when Dr. Wehman returned home from his conference a few days, he found Bryant was not recovering as expected. He was pale, clammy, had low blood pressure, and he was beginning to go into renal failure.
Dr. Wehman immediately reinserted cardiac monitoring lines and saw Bryant was in cardiogenic shock. There was also a strong clinical suspicion he was in cardiac tamponade, a condition where the heart is compressed or constrained and therefore cannot fill with or pump blood properly. Dr. Wehman booked Bryant for an emergency re-operation that night.
As Bryant underwent his second surgery, his entire family gathered in the waiting room. In the operating room, the echocardiogram confirmed Dr. Wehman’s suspicion as there was a substantial amount of old blood compressing the surface of Bryant’s heart.
The surgery team proceeded to re-open Bryant’s chest, and evacuate all the old blood and fluid. After this second surgery, Bryant and his heart made a dramatic recovery. He was well enough to leave the hospital after several days.
“I tell everyone it’s God’s will,” says Bryant. “I randomly picked Dr. Rohatgi as a cardiologist and he saved my life the first time. Then, Dr. Wehman’s involvement saved my life a second time.”
This holiday season, Bryant and his family are celebrating the one-year anniversary of his surgeries, and Bryant is doing well. Bryant’s doctors are ecstatic about his health as well.
“This case highlights the excellent heart team available to cardiac surgery patients at Memorial Regional Medical Center,” says Dr. Wehman. “Working for Bon Secours allows me to provide my patients with the highest degree of clinical excellence, while also serving the community I grew up in and those in need.”
Dr. Rohatgi adds, “This involved three teams working together as one team — a cardiologist, an infectious disease specialist and cardiac surgeons — allowing us to provide the best care for Bryant.”
Sarah Garner, Bryant’s sister who works as a registered nurse at Memorial Regional Medical Center and other Bon Secours hospitals in the Richmond area, has nothing but praise for these physicians who helped her family through the most difficult time of their lives.
“They were good not only with Bryant but the whole family,” Sarah reveals. “Everyone was willing to repeat information. Everyone was also very patient with us, telling us what they were doing and making sure we were on the same page.”
Bryant’s wife, Nicole, is very relieved that Bryant didn’t have complications after the second surgery, and she fully acknowledges this whole experience could have gone a completely different way.
“The doctors were the most professional and knowledgeable people,” says Nicole. “They just didn’t give up, including the pharmacist, and wanted to figure out what was wrong. They didn’t stop. As a team they worked together and treated him so well.”
Nicole also adds, “This was God ordained. If one of those things went differently, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”
Learn about the heart care and cardiology services available at Bon Secours.