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One Heart Repaired & Now Paired for Ruben Ramos

Time, distance or a heart attack were never barriers for Ruben Ramos to be with Genoveva, the love of his life.

Category: Cardiology

Patient Ruben Ramos is grateful for two things these days: The life-saving care he received from Baystate Health and his reunion and marriage to life-long love Genoveva Sanchez-Vargas.

RECONNECTING WITH A LONG LOST LOVE

Several years ago Ramos found out that his first love was living in Holyoke. “I met Genoveva 40 years ago and was struck by her beauty,” says Ramos. “I never forgot her.”

Unfortunately, Ramos and Sanchez-Vargas lost touch. “I would often think about him and how he was doing,” shares Sanchez-Vargas.

Learning she was again living in the area, Ramos tracked her down and called her.

“My heart was joyful when I heard Ruben’s voice. It had been a very long time,” says Sanchez-Vargas.

After weeks of talking and attending church together, Ramos and Sanchez-Vargas married. Both were 72 years old.

OVERCOMING THE ODDS

Ramos had a history of cardiac disease, undergoing triple bypass surgery performed by Dr. Daniel Engelman over a decade ago. Unfortunately, a few months after their wedding, Ruben had a serious heart attack; it was touch and go.

“Ruben was in cardiogenic shock, a life-threatening, low blood pressure where you have weak heart muscles,” shares Kimberly Grady, RN, who helped care for Ramos. During his time at Baystate Medical Center, Dr. Evan Lau placed an Impella device into Ramos’ heart. An Impella device is a heart pump placed through a catheter into a vein or artery used to keep the heart pumping for critically ill patients.

The device delivered life sustaining care so Lau could open up Ramos’ blocked artery. After two months, once his heart recovered enough, Ramos had a TAVR (transcatheter aortic valve replacement) procedure.

“After his procedure, Ruben, was unconscious and unable to move,” recalls Sanchez-Vargas. “I gripped his hand and whispered ‘I love you’ and to my surprise he gripped my hand back. That’s when I knew everything was going to be ok.” Since then Ruben has been recovering well.

A SPECIAL CONNECTION

Lau speaks of Ruben fondly. “Ruben is a really sweet and grateful patient that I’m thankful for having been part of his life. We have crossed paths on many occasions, sometimes through pure serendipity. We have a special connection,” Lau adds.

“I love Dr. Lau as if he were my son and I am deeply grateful for the care I received from him and his team,” says Ruben. “If it wasn’t for him, I would not be here enjoying my old age with Genoveva, the love of my life.”