As COVID-19 Restrictions Ease, Grateful Heart Patient Receives Urgent Surgery

Thomas Marshall, 65, was planning on having minimally invasive robotic coronary artery bypass surgery at Mount Sinai Morningside in early April 2020 due to signs of worsening coronary artery disease. But those plans were derailed when COVID-19 forced hospitals to close down services for anything but treatment for the virus, except for emergencies. As the weeks went by, Thomas experienced pains in his chest, arms, shoulder, neck, and jaw. Everyday activities became harder: climbing stairs, loading the dishwasher, taking a shower. Despite helpful video visits with his surgeon, John D. Puskas, MD, Chair of Chair of Cardiovascular Surgery at Mount Sinai Morningside, Mount Sinai Downtown, and Mount Sinai West, Thomas was increasingly stressed, not knowing when he would be able to have the procedure and resume his active life.

In early May, when he got the call from Dr. Puskas’s office that they were ready to proceed, he was eager to get started, although apprehensive about what conditions at the hospital might be like. Thomas says Mount Sinai Morningside was “excellent.” “I was screened twice for COVID-19 and tested for antibodies. Everybody had their protective gear on: visors, gloves, gowns. I felt very comfortable knowing they weren’t taking this lightly. I was relieved knowing they took all the precautions. And they did a great job of keeping the hospital clean.”

Thomas was released from MSM three days after his bypass. His angina was gone. “I feel great,” he says, “and am so happy I got this done.”