Ed Plumley is the first person to tell you he did not like hospitals. "To be
honest, I hated them," admitted the 59-year-old exercise buff. It took an ice
storm, an orthopedic surgery, a quadruple heart bypass, and the resources of the
UMass Memorial Health Care system to change Mr. Plumley's mind.
Mr. Plumley's story began when he injured his shoulder clearing wood after
the December 2008 ice storm last year. His shoulder damage was expertly repaired
by Paul Pongor, MD, a Marlborough Hospital surgeon and a partner at Marlborough
Orthopaedic Associates. While his shoulder surgery was a great success, the
presurgery workup with Anil Vyas, MD, a Marlborough Hospital anesthesiologist,
brought something to light: Mr. Plumley's heart was larger than most healthy
An enlarged heart could have been a result of his intensive exercise routine,
or it could be a sign of heart disease. While it was agreed that his potential
heart condition would not rule out the much-needed shoulder surgery, Dr. Vyas
referred Mr. Plumley to Eric Nelson, MD, in Marlborough Hospital's Cardiology
"We found that Mr. Plumley's heart function was less than normal," explained
Dr. Nelson, a member of the UMass Memorial Medical Group. "This was a surprise
because Mr. Plumley's heart wasn't bothering him at all, even during exercise.
Thankfully, our team of doctors paid attention to that one sign of an enlarged
heart and suggested follow-up care."
The next step for Dr. Nelson was to refer Mr. Plumley to Stanley Tam, MD,
chief of cardiac surgery at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester. UMass
Memorial Medical Center provides the region's most complete cardiac services,
featuring a nationally recognized Heart and Vascular Center of Excellence that
brings together expert cardiologists, surgeons, nurses, technology and advances
"We have a very carefully thought-out process for cases like Mr. Plumley's.
That's part of why patients do so well here," said Dr. Tam. "We have real
coordination among team members so patients can move seamlessly through
treatment and rehabilitation." For the second time in a year, Mr. Plumley had
surgery, again with a very successful result. These days, Mr. Plumley is back at
the gym seven days a week, and says he is thankful that UMass Memorial Health
Care - both locally at Marlborough Hospital and at the region's academic medical
center in Worcester - was there for all his medical needs.