“She is the one. You should marry her...” That was some of the first advice offered to heart patient, Gerard Vaughan, by his nurse Marci Zynda as he began his recovery with girlfriend, Tina Dublino, by his side.
It had been a long week for Vaughan to say the least. “On Sunday, April 18 (2010), I started feeling like somebody was trying to push a baseball bat into the middle of my chest,” described Vaughan, a 53-year-old Kenmore resident. “I called my doctor who advised me to go to the emergency room right away.”
“The last thing I remember was getting whisked off to Mercy Hospital in an ambulance,” he said.
Zynda, a registered nurse in the Open Heart Unit (OHU), continued the story. “Mr. Vaughan coded (heart stopped) while going into coronary bypass surgery on Tuesday. However, we were able to revive him quickly and Dr. John Bell-Thomson was able to successfully perform the surgery to fix his heart.” According to Zynda, he was then cooled down by hypothermia.
"When we took him off the ventilator on Saturday, April 24, we were concerned about neurological deficits but he seemed fine as we assessed him with help from Courtney Sullivan, ITA (immediate treatment assistant) in the OHU and Marion Sheremeta, RT, of Respiratory Therapy."
That same afternoon, Vaughan’s girlfriend stopped in with a blueberry buckle dessert straight from his mother’s cookbook to thank the staff. As she entered the unit, Sullivan told her there was a surprise and that she was the first person he asked about. “At that moment, I burst into tears and rushed into his room,” recalled Dublino.
Vaughan said he will never forget sitting in his big reclining chair in the midst of his recovery while he and Tina shared some old photos with Marci. “She recognized that we had been together since our kids were little, and the next thing I know, Marci slapped me on the bottom of my foot and said, ‘You realize that this is the girl, right?’ She came back in a little while, slapped my foot again and said, ‘So, you do know she is the one; we’re on the same page, right?”
Zynda received an invitation to their wedding about a month later. The couple were married on July 10 and Zynda felt like a “guest of honor.” Vaughan’s family members said they had been waiting for this wedding for ten years.
Vaughan wanted to express his thanks to Dr. Bell-Thomson, Zynda, and the entire staff who cared for him and saved his life. However, he said those words don’t seem to be enough for how grateful he feels.
Three months later, he is back to work and a married man. “We’re so much in love and so happy that he was given a second chance,” chimed in his new bride Tina Vaughan.