Published on November 26, 2012

New surgery has local grandmother grateful this Thanksgiving


Reported By: Kristen Sell, Action News


Thanks to a new procedure performed at St. Vincent's Medical Center, a family of 50 will have their grandma sitting at the head of the table for Thanksgiving.

In the Crum household, Thanksgiving is a family affair.

But this year, that was in jeopardy because 88-year-old Berta's heart valve was failing. But she was too frail for open heart surgery.

"I knew my time was running short. Because I got so short-winded," she said.

Seemingly right on cue, Dr. Samer Garas presented Berta with the perfect holiday gift: a less invasive surgery her body could handle.

"We were able to replace her valve through the leg we passed a catheter to her old valve, deployed a new valve. In her case it was certainly a life-saving procedure," he explained.

The new TAVR (or Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement) surgery gave this grandma her second wind. Good news considering she's going to have a full house come Thursday. She's preparing a feast for the masses.

"I have 10 children. And I have 16 grandchildren. And my grandchildren have got married and they have kids," Berta said with a huge smile.

So this holiday, Thanksgiving means more than ever.

"I'm thankful, I'm thankful for my family. I'm thankful for the surgery. I feel like a different person. It's just a wonderful, wonderful thing."

St. Vincent's is the first hospital in the region to perform the new TAVR surgery. Only about 100 in the country are equipped to do it.

Watch the Action News video here:

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