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Patient believes in bloodless heart surgery

Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center | Heart Care, Surgery

In March 2013, Keizer resident and full-time community college student Randy Magarrell, 58 at the time, couldn’t walk across campus because he felt so short of breath. Once his wife Sherrie brought him to Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center, tests showed he’d experienced a silent heart attack and had significant coronary artery blockages. “The cardiologist said there were too many blockages to do stents, so bypass surgery was necessary,” he relates. Randy was referred to John Lemmer, M.D., cardiothoracic surgeon.

Surgery posed some unique challenges for Randy. As a Jehovah’s Witness, he abstains from blood transfusions, but he knew that this wouldn’t be an issue at Legacy, because the Magarrells were well aware of the Legacy Bloodless Surgery and Medicine Program, established in 1991 as the first of its kind in the nation.

Sherrie has had several bloodless procedures at Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center; Randy underwent several bloodless procedures after a serious motorcycle accident 11 years ago.

So when Randy needed open-heart surgery in 2013, he and Sherrie didn’t hesitate to schedule it at Legacy Good Samaritan.

“Given a choice, we would want to go to Legacy [for surgery],” Sherri says. “It’s comforting to know that so many doctors are willing to work with our beliefs. It takes a lot of stress out of a very stressful situation.”

For about two weeks prior to his CABG surgery, Randy was given intravenous iron and erythropoietin (EPO) to stimulate red blood cell formation. On April 3, 2013, after insertion of an intra-aortic balloon pump, Randy underwent a quadruple bypass. The procedure took about four hours. He was discharged to home one week later, and today he is doing fine.

“In our minds and hearts, there’s nowhere we would go for surgery except to Legacy Good Samaritan,” Randy says. “Having this option [for bloodless surgery] available to us … as a Jehovah’s Witness, that was a requirement. I would not be here without it.”