"I tell everybody that if they have to have surgery go to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and get Dr. Sandwith to care for them. I am forever grateful."
James Sloan is a 64 year old construction superintendent who lives in Destin, Florida with his wife. He has always been very active with sports, riding motorcycles, working around the house and on numerous construction sites. When James first started getting tired and worn out while enjoying his favorite pass-times, he thought he was just getting old. It wasn't until he lost his breathe while barley pushing a light boat trailer that he got scared. He waited a few days to see if he would recover from loss of breathe. When he didn't he contacted his heart doctor who referred him to Dr. Sandwith, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center.
James had no idea that he had a defective heart valve which left him with only 5% usage of his heart. Dr. Sandwith immediately performed open heart surgery replacing one of his aortic valves. After several weeks of breathing exercises and walking, he was well on his way to a full recovery. James tells everybody he comes in contact with about his surgery with Dr. Sandwith and for people not to wait as long as he did before seeking medical attention. "I think since I was able to walk out of the surgery unit in four days unassisted and drive within two weeks and then back to work in four weeks from open heart surgery - is a modern miracle", James says of his surgery at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center.
James had been losing stamina over the last several years because of the defective heart valve. He is now more optimistic about his ability to get back to the activities he once enjoyed so much in the past. The biggest thing for him is he now feels that he has a future that is positive and that he'll be there for his family. James reflects on his life now. "The awakening of how time is precious for each of us and how the little things are just little things. My wife and I now appreciate our time together more. It amazes me that if you break an arm, they immobilize your arm and let it heal. During heart surgery, they disconnect you from the pump and sew you back up and everything has to work with no healing time. That is absolutely amazing! I tell everybody that if they have to have surgery go to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and get Dr. Sandwith to care for them. I am forever grateful."