A multidisciplinary cardiac surgery team of 21 MAC Hospital medical personnel got into San Miguel de Allende’s history books on May 18 when they performed the city’s first ever open-heart surgery.
“Patients are [routinely] sent to León, Guadalajara, México City, or Monterrey,” MAC’s cardiovascular surgeon Francisco Meléndez Alhambra, who led the surgical team, said. “The idea [with this surgery] is to make these procedures commonplace in a small city like San Miguel.”
Open-heart surgery is considered routine in big cities with tertiary-care hospitals, but until now, Sanmiguelenses needing open-heart surgery faced traveling to bigger nearby cities like Querétaro or México City, as well as the costs associated with such travel. Tertiary-care hospitals are hospitals that can provide more complex medical interventions and follow-up care.
Examples of tertiary care include open-heart surgery, cancer management, plastic surgery, and severe burn treatment. The historic patient The patient who underwent the historic surgery, San Miguel expat artist Susan Kirby, originally of Salt Lake City, is 66 years old. Her artwork now decorates the MAC Hospital lobby.
When Atención spoke to her prior to surgery, she said her only wish once she recovers is to return to her daily life—caring for her cats and her house, painting every day, and exercising.
“San Miguel is my home,” she said. “I have medical care in the United States, but it would take a long time to get that surgery, and I don’t have the strength or the time to go. The care of the doctors is good here, and I have many friends nearby.” As she spoke, she embraced a rag doll that she had designed.