Honoring His Physicians and Nurses

Nurse practitioner Erica Sis, Jane Ferris, Ed Ferris and nurse practitioner Sara Edwards

Ed Ferris inherited heart disease and, at age 67, says he feels lucky to have lived this long. Other family members died of heart failure early in life. His genetics were largely to blame for a diseased heart muscle (cardiomyopathy) and ventricular tachycardia, a type of fast heart rate that arises from improper electrical activity in the ventricles of the heart.

In May of 2017, Hyde M. Russell, MD, Owen L. Coon Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery, NorthShore Division Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery and Co-Director of the Cardiovascular Institute (CVI), implanted a ventricular assist device (VAD) which Ferris said “kept him alive.” The device assists cardiac circulation to replace the function of a failing heart.

Ferris and his wife Jane, a retired nurse, became active members of a NorthShore support group for patients with VADs. The support group meets monthly and typically includes a guest speaker, clinical staff and discussion among members, said nurse practitioners Erica Sis and Sara Edwards, VAD Coordinators at NorthShore Evanston Hospital.

“I knew I wouldn’t have made it without the help of the VAD, the support group and the NorthShore team,” said Ferris, who was the first NorthShore patient implanted with the VAD who went on to successfully receive a heart transplant at Loyola University Medical Center. Today, he is recovering at home and grateful for his NorthShore team.

“I wanted to do something to say thanks, so I gave a gift to honor the doctors and nurses who cared for me,” he said of his charitable donation. His A-team included cardiovascular disease specialist Robert Gordon, MD; Hyde Russell, MD; Charu Gupta, MD; and nurse practitioners Edwards and Sis.

“Ed was extremely grateful for his care,” said his nurses. “We appreciate him honoring our team.”

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