Who We Are

Valley is…Not the Regular Hospital Experience

“Who are you? What do you do?” Steve Honig’s wife Margery asked urgently. “And how many times have you done it?”

A team of Valley clinicians was swarming. Steve lay horizontal and helpless in need of emergency coronary artery bypass surgery.

That morning in early June had started out like any other day for the real estate and trial attorney from Saddle River, New Jersey. While sitting with a client in a conference room discussing the details of a closing, Steve dismissed the compression he felt in his arm as high blood pressure, and hastily wrapped up the meeting.  Upon realizing the feeling was not diminishing, Steve drove himself down to The Valley Hospital’s Emergency Room.

Within a minute of walking through the double doors and telling a nurse he might be having heart problems, clinicians hooked Steve up to an electrocardiogram. The next minute this seemingly healthy 69-year old was lying on the hospital bed. Dr. Sean Wilson, the Interventional Cardiologist on staff that afternoon, was inserting a balloon into his leg. This angioplasty procedure uncovered blocked arteries, resulting in the decision to operate, stat!

Margery, Steve’s wife of 45 years, was naturally shaken when she received the call from the cardiac catherization lab informing her that Steve was being prepped for coronary artery bypass surgery. Arriving at the hospital shortly thereafter, she began asking questions and expressing her concerns. Margery said the cardiac surgeon, Dr. Mariano Brizzio, addressed them in a very compassionate, matter-of-fact, composed manner.  She and Steve were becoming more at ease with the sudden critical decisions being made due to the thorough explanations and calm manner in which they were delivered.

Dr. Brizzio confidently explained “I have conducted this very operation over 1200 times.” This information gave them both complete trust in the healthcare team that was about to perform this operation. 

“Then I saw the Valley and Cleveland Clinic insignias side by side on the doctor’s lab coat, and I knew that I was absolutely in the right place.” Steve adds, “I breathed in and out, and spiritually went through an epiphany. I said thank you to the universe.”  

Steve is a spiritual man and practices Buddhism, yet always carries a laminated ancient image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in his wallet.  That afternoon, he asked the attending nurse to fish it out of his wallet for him to hold.    

Within ten minutes of walking into Valley’s Emergency Room, Steve was being wheeled into the operating room. He woke, five hours later, to the warm and gentle touch of a nurse stroking his brow and holding his right hand.  In his other hand, to his pleasant surprise, was the laminated image of Our Lady of Guadalupe delicately taped to his palm.

“That nurse stayed with me nonstop for the next 8 hours,” Steve recalls. “Only to be replaced by another equally remarkable angel who rubbed lavender oil on my temples, softly sang to me, and held my hand. This was not the regular hospital experience.”

Now fully recovered from his surgery, Steve attended pulmonary rehabilitation, altered his lifestyle and eating habits, lost 23 pounds and works regularly on flexibility, balance and strength. 

“Being at The Valley Hospital was an amazing experience,” Steve says. “When I saw Drs. Brizzio and Wilson, I felt so connected to these human beings, and hugged them. I told them ‘Thank you!  You saved my life!’” 


For more information about Valley's award-winning Heart and Vascular Institute, please visit our website or call 201-447-8456 and a representative will be happy to assist you.
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