Physician and attorney Mordechai Kamel says when he first felt pain in his chest, he knew enough to be frightened. But “from the minute I went through the door [at Baystate Medical Center] until the minute I left, I felt cared for. I’m convinced they saved my life.”
“I thought it could be heartburn,” he says, “but I’d never had heartburn or chest pain before.” An hour later, he called an ambulance and asked to be taken to Baystate Medical Center.
En route, the EMTs administered an IV and gave him nitroglycerin. By the time they arrived at Baystate Medical Center, Kamel says his chest pain had stopped. He met with Dr. Hector Pope, who ordered an EKG and bloodwork, neither of which offered evidence of a heart attack.
Still, Pope contacted Dr. Aaron Kugelmass, medical director of Cardiology and vice president of the Baystate Heart & Vascular Program, who had previously treated Kamel.
Kugelmass was also concerned, and came in from home to check on Kamel. He and Pope agreed that Kamel’s symptoms warranted further testing and observation on Baystate’s Observation Unit. While there, further lab work showed minor abnormalities indicative of a heart attack, and Kamel was scheduled for an angiogram for the follow day.
“It Was a Big Deal”
That night, however, Kamel experienced another heart attack, and was brought to Baystate’s cardiac catheterization laboratory for an immediate intervention, during which a stent was implanted.
Kamel says he doesn’t remember much of the heart attack or procedure, but says as soon as he got out of the procedure room, the pain was gone, and he felt much better. “It was a big deal,” he says. There was 100% blockage in one vessel.”
As a physician, Kamel knows how serious his condition was. For most of his professional life, he worked as a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, primarily in the Boston area. Then in 2005, he changed paths and went to law school, and now has his own small private practice, in which he primarily focuses on pro bono and special education law.
World Class Care
Kamel says that while his accommodations in the Davis Heart & Vascular Center were beautiful, as a physician, that’s not what impressed him.
“The staff was unbelievable at every level,” he says. “From the person who cleaned my room to the head nurse, it was very obvious they cared about their patients. The physicians were fantastic. The care I received was world class.”
That’s the reason why even though he has a chance to receive care closer to his Easthampton home, Kamel is returning to Baystate for his cardiac rehabilitation, as well as follow up visits with Kugelmass.
He told Kugelmass that having been a surgeon himself, “I have been on both sides, but I have never seen care and caring like this before.”
He concludes, “From the minute I went through the door until the minute I left, I felt cared for. I’m convinced they saved my life.”