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Don Wheeler: Happy to Be Back on the Move

Donald WheelerDon Wheeler likes to be an active man, especially when it comes to cleaning up around his beautiful home in Agawam. “I try to walk everyday. If I’m not working on something, I do. I walk. I mow my own lawn. I got a pretty good size yard. I got 18,000 square feet of grass here, got a big backyard.”

When those tasks were growing increasingly challenging for Wheeler, he went to get checked out by his doctor. Tests revealed that he was in need of bypass surgery, and Dr. David Deaton from the Baystate Heart & Vascular Program was called upon for the job.

“I was admitted on March 23 for my surgery, which was a triple bypass," says Wheeler. "I went into the hospital at 5:30 in the morning; I was prepped; and I think the surgery started about 7:30.”

Wheeler’s triple bypass surgery, performed by Deaton in Baystate's Davis Family Heart & Vascular Center, lasted about five hours, and he spent the next six days recovering in the center.  

“I met a very nice bunch of nurses," he says. "The best bunch of nurses that I’ve ever had.”

These days, Wheeler is feeling good again. He has worked with his doctors to find the right combination of medication to make him feel strong again, and he is back to walking everyday and taking care of his backyard. 

Award-Winning Care

Wheeler is just one of many faces that reflect nationally recognized, award winning care at Baystate Medical Center. U.S. News & World Report has rated Baystate Medical Center as part of an elite group of 34 “high performing” hospitals in a new form of evaluation that rates hospitals on how well they perform. Other areas include open heart surgery, COPD treatment, and hip/knee replacements.

“It is important for patients, in consultation with their doctors, to be able to research a hospital and know the hospital has treated a sufficient number of patients like them,” says Ben Harder, chief of health analysis for U.S. News. “Our Best Hospitals for Common Care ratings give patients access to more information and help them make more-informed choices among the hospitals in their communities.”

Baystate is only one of three hospitals in New England to be rated as “high performing” in an analysis of 4,600 hospitals nationwide in the magazine’s new Best Hospitals for Common Care ratings.  

“This latest honor from U.S. News & World Report, in addition to already placing in its Best Hospitals report, is further recognition of the world-class care available to patients at Baystate Medical Center. It is truly an honor and a testament to our clinicians and staff who strive to deliver safe, high-quality care for our patients every day,” says Dr. Evan Benjamin, senior vice president for Quality and Population Health and chief quality officer for Baystate Health.

It is that quality care from Dr. Deaton, and exceeding compassion from his nurses, that Wheeler was grateful for, as he began 2016 with a fresh lease on life. “They were caring," he says. "They were concerned about the patients, not just me, but all the patients. And the quality of what they did. As far as I know, it's as good as you can get.”