Heart surgery survivor celebrates 99th birthday

Family friend Jacqueline Sams, heart patient Daisy McFadden, Montefiore Cardiac Recovery Program director Dr. David Prince, exercise physiologist Vanessa Pahlad-Singh and Albert Einstein College of Medicine professor Dr. Lari Attai (l-r) celebrated McFadden's 99th birthday. Photo by Patrick Rocchio

A heart surgery survivor chose to celebrate her 99th birthday at Montefiore Medical Center, where she received a triple bypass. The surgery and subsequent care, including exercise and physical therapy, improved Daisy McFadden’s quality-of-life, she said.

Montefiore hosted the birthday party on Monday, November 24. McFadden still lives independently in the home she and her late husband purchased in the 1930s. Her doctors, nurses, family and friends were on hand to celebrate her longevity and the success of her cardiac rehabilitation. McFadden has spent the past 11 years exercising on a treadmill, a rowing machine and other devices at Montefiore’s Cardiac Recovery Program at 1500 Blondell Avenue.

“I look forward to coming here for exercise three times a week,” McFadden said. “I have an exercise program on the machines under the instruction of Dr. David Prince and Vanessa Pahlad-Singh, an exercise physiologist

McFadden had her triple-bypass performed at Montefiore by Dr. Lari Attai in 1998. The Cardiac Recovery Program helped her regain confidence in her ability to execute everyday tasks.

McFadden, a registered nurse in New York City hospitals for 34 years, represents the mission of Montefiore’s Cardiac Recovery Program, Prince, the program’s director, said. It helps surgery survivors to lead active lives.

“We’re emphasizing that anyone, at any age, can recover,” Prince said. “[McFadden] is a very unique story because it’s 11 years after her surgery, she’s 99-years-old and she’s still living independently.”

Prince explained that Montefiore’s Cardiac Recovery Program is also a place where people can come to recover from depression and anxiety, if necessary. Rather than focus only on survivors’ hearts, the program caters to body and soul.

Program staff monitor McFadden’sexercise routine and help her maintain muscle strength and cardiac capacity.

“I take my own pulse and record my own heart rate,” McFadden said.

Reach reporter Patrick Rocchio at 718 742-3393 or procchio@cnglocal.com

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