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Forever Grateful

The Mendenhalls
The Mendenhalls - Rita, Lindsay (Clark) and Tony - make their 19th annual visit to thank Dr. Saleh.

At age 41, Tony Mendenhall suffered a massive heart attack that almost took his life. His youngest child was just an infant.

“I was so afraid my 6-month-old daughter would never know her father,” recalls Tony’s wife, Rita. That was 19 years ago. Thanks to a lifesaving bypass surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital, Tony has been able to enjoy watching both of his daughters, Lindsay and Lacey, grow up.

The Mendenhalls, from Springfield, remember the night well. Tony woke up nauseated, then collapsed on the floor. Rita asked 5-year-old Lindsay to watch her baby sister while Rita called an ambulance. Tony was rushed to a Springfield hospital where they quickly diagnosed him with an acute myocardial infarction. He was there when the heart attack hit. His cardiologist realized that heart surgery was imperative.   He immediately referred Tony to the care of Mohey Saleh, MD, at Good Samaritan.

An Emotional Roller Coaster

Rita remembers being “a nervous wreck.” Then she met the doctor who would be performing Tony’s bypass surgery. Dr. Saleh is a cardiothoracic surgeon who has cared for patients at Good Samaritan since 1988. “He gave me a lot of hope,” Rita says.

The hospital’s board-certified specialists and staff provide high-quality, advanced treatment in all aspects of heart and vascular disease. On December 16, 1992, Dr. Saleh and his team performed emergency open heart surgery on Tony to bypass his four blocked coronary arteries.

“He had a rough course after surgery because of his massive heart attack, but he recovered well,” says Dr. Saleh, who is now the chief of the cardiac surgery section and Chairman of the Department of Surgery at Good Samaritan.

A Promise Made

When Tony was released in January, he said to his wife, “I’m going to make sure that I remember to say thank you.” It’s a promise he’s kept every year since.

Each year on the anniversary date of his surgery, Tony heads to Good Samaritan’s cardiac floor. Rita, Lindsay, and Lacey often join him, bringing a small gift for the staff, a family photo, and a handwritten note of thanks.

“It is an honor for me to feel like such a part of his lovely family, having the privilege of seeing them together each year and watching the children grow,” Dr. Saleh says. “Sometimes I’ve missed his visit due to being in surgery. But Tony and his family have never missed making a visit.”

And that’s because Tony and Rita hold Dr. Saleh and his team in such high regard. “Dr. Saleh treats not only the patient but the entire family,” Rita says.

High-Quality Care Continues Today

The Dayton Heart & Vascular Hospital at Good Samaritan offers care that ranges from prevention to rehabilitation, with staff specially trained to care for heart and vascular patients. It was the first dedicated heart facility in the region backed by the capabilities of a full-service acute-care hospital.

Tony intends to continue making his annual visits for years to come. “Good Samaritan is a great hospital,” he says. “I received excellent care and that means so much to me and my family.”

Learn more about the Dayton Heart & Vascular Hospital at Good Samaritan.