Josie Hanafi has a clear preference when she needs medical care. A clinical lab scientist in our hematology department, Josie chooses to receive care at Huntington Hospital for the same reason she chooses to work here. “I love Huntington Hospital, and I trust all the doctors here,” she says. “I believe in the work we do.”

When Josie began to experience blurry vision and a terrible headache, however, she was not in our area. She was rushed to the emergency room at another hospital, where it was confirmed that she had suffered a major stroke.

Upon her release from the hospital, Josie scheduled a follow-up appointment with Fernando Roth, MD, a cardiologist affiliated with Huntington Hospital. Through a diagnostic ultrasound, Dr. Roth determined the likely cause of her symptoms: Josie had a patent foramen ovale (PFO) — a small opening between the two upper chambers of her heart.

Josie needed to have the PFO in her heart closed. She was referred to Azhil (Alex) Durairaj, MD, medical director of cardiology here. Dr. Durairaj performed a minimally invasive procedure on Josie in our Heather and Paul Haaga Hybrid Catheterization Suite, located in our new Heart & Vascular Center. “I was actually the first patient to ever be treated in the hybrid suite,” says Josie. “I’d never seen anything like it. It was a spectacular space full of the most state-of-the-art instrumentation.”

The first of its kind in our service region, our hybrid suite accommodates both catheterization and surgical procedures. As a result, the suite can be used to treat patients whose condition may require a rapid transition from catheterization to surgery. “Knowing the hospital was equipped with the most advanced technology and prepared for any possibility made me feel more relaxed,” says Josie.

Josie’s procedure went perfectly. “I’m so thankful for Dr. Durairaj,” she says. “I felt like I was his only patient. Dr. Roth was also amazing, and the nurses were so reassuring. They even played music for me before the procedure to help me stay calm.”

Josie went home the next day feeling great, and she returned to work a week later. She was quickly back to her normal activities, which include being a wife, mom, and volunteering at her church. “Having a heart procedure can be scary,” says Josie, “but I knew I was in the right place.”

Huntington Hospital offers a full spectrum of cardiology and heart health services. There are lots of tests to diagnose heart problems such as a patent foramen ovale (a small opening between the two upper chambers of her heart). Find a cardiologist near Pasadena that is affiliated with Huntington Hospital for your cardiac care needs.

If you are grateful for the care you received at our hospital and would like to share your experience, please send us your story.