Every day, patients at Atlantic Health System are discovering that where you go for health care matters. In all of our specialties our medical experts ensure that those who come through our doors continue to have more of the moments that matter most to them.
Collaborative Care Patient Stories
When Shannon D. was rushed to Hackettstown Medical Center’s Emergency Department, she was treated initially for cardiac arrhythmia, but the cause of her symptoms was quickly discovered to be hyperthyroidism. To be successfully treated, Shannon needed the help of a cardiologist, an endocrinologist, and a surgeon and otolaryngologist.
Heart Care Patient Stories
Bill G.'s Story
When Bill G. wanted to start exercising again but felt lethargic, he sought answers at Overlook Medical Center.
An advanced noninvasive cardiac imaging test revealed a 90% blockage in Bill's left anterior descending artery. He and his cardiologist decided to relieve the blockage through an elective angioplasty with a stent. Less than two weeks after the procedure, Bill "felt great" and he's now committed to taking better care of his health.
Pat M.'s Story
For the better part of six years, medication helped Pat M. keep his congestive heart failure under control. But then his heart began to weaken quickly, so much so that by last November, he needed a heart transplant. After 45 days on the waiting list, Pat’s doctors found the right donor heart—on Christmas Eve 2021. He received his transplant at NYU Langone Health’s nationally recognized Transplant Institute in Manhattan, and he’ll get all his follow-up care with the local team he knows at Morristown Medical Center’s Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute
As a working mom with two daughters—one of whom had health issues from an early age—Sara always puts her children and her husband, Raul, first. Unfortunately, that meant she ignored her own health concerns, which included shortness of breath, dizziness, heart palpitations and sometimes debilitating chest pains. But when her younger brother received a surprising diagnosis of a life-threatening heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), she realized she had it, too. Five years later, her HCM is under control, and she’s helping others realize that they can have the condition and still lead a normal life.
When 61-year old thriller writer Walter P (writing as W. Joseph Puza) felt his throat burning in May 2021, he blamed it on summer. At first, he was going to wait and talk to his regular doctor, but since he had a lot to do that week he decided to make the short trip to Newton Medical Center. His decision likely saved his life, because it turned out Walter had all the classic signs of a STEMI on his EKG readout.
Walter was the 50th patient to benefit from the PCI program at Newton Medical Center. He is already back to exercising and playing with his two dogs.
In early 2021, Priscilla L. had her eyes squarely focused on competing in the high jump at the Tokyo Olympics. Then she got COVID-19. While her symptoms cleared up in a little more than a week, she was left with intermittent chest pain. She needed an expert in athletes and heart to let her know whether it was safe to compete. She turned to renowned sports cardiologist Dr. Matthew Martinez. Learn how he helped her get back into competition.
Tony F's Story
As he walked into Hackettstown Medical Center with stomach pain , Tony F. turned to his wife, Sandra, and said, “I’ll probably be home in a couple of days.” He thought he had appendicitis. He actually suffered a massive heart attack. An Emergency Department team at Hackettstown administered CPR for 45 minutes and shocked Tony’s heart back to life three times. They then transferred him to Morristown Medical Center, where he received a stent to open a blocked artery. “There’s no way I can thank my medical team enough,” Tony says.
At 36-years-old, Gina W. experienced a confusing array of uncomfortable symptoms. Specialist after specialist treated her for problems such as asthma and pneumonia. Her symptoms worsened until she was sent to Chilton Medical Center’s Emergency Department.
Once there, she was diagnosed within hours with congestive heart failure. Under the expert care of Chilton Medical Center doctors, Gina has received treatments that have significantly improved her quality of life while she awaits a heart transplant.
During his workday at as manager of print services for Atlantic Health System, Tom P felt a strange sensation that sent him to Chilton Medical Center’s emergency department.
There, he learned he had a 100% blockage of his left anterior descending (LAD) artery, the most deadly type of heart attack. He needed two stents inserted to open his artery using the radial artery approach which minimizes recovery time and bleeding risks to patients.
After a two-day stay at Chilton Medical Center, Tom was home and back to work at Atlantic Health System four days later. Tom is now focused on living his healthiest life.
Due to congestive heart failure, Walter N. received a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) – a minimally invasive procedure designed for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are not candidates for conventional valve repair surgery.
“I never thought about going any place else for treatment,” Walter explained. “Everyone at Morristown Medical Center was friendly and they all were extremely knowledgeable. I felt comfortable and safe as soon as I was brought there.”
Today, at age 97, Walter continues to be active in his grandchildren’s lives, attending their baseball games and music concerts.
When Haley B. unexpectedly went into cardiac arrest, first responders used an AED provided in part by a generous donation from the Newton Medical Center Foundation to stabilize her heartbeat. Atlantic Health System has since created Project Heartbeat, a program that helps provide our local communities with the training and equipment needed to save the lives of more patients like Haley.
Bill is an active semi-retiree who enjoys hiking and kayaking, but thirty years of smoking finally took its toll when he experienced a dangerous type of heart attack, known as STEMI. Paramedics rushed him to Newton Medical Center, where he received the clot-busting drug called tPA to open his blocked arteries. They then transferred him to Morristown Medical Center for an interventional procedure that further corrected his blood flow. Not long after, he was back on the kayak and finally said goodbye to cigarettes.
Hairstylist Lynn M. enjoys getting to know her clients, so when one of them recommended Morristown Medical Center to correct her faulty heart valve, she readily took her advice. After meeting with our cardiovascular experts, she found she was a candidate for a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) clinical trial. This allowed her to avoid open-heart surgery and return to work in eight short days.
Health care professionals at Newton Medical Center knew time was of the essence when they found Jay Z. collapsed in the hospital parking lot with symptoms of cardiac arrest. Once inside, Emergency Department staff quickly stabilized him, but a blockage in his artery was restricting blood flow to the brain. They transferred Jay to Morristown Medical Center, where cardiovascular experts performed a cardiac catheterization to clear the obstruction. The team also used therapeutic hypothermia protocols, which minimized Jay’s risk of permanent brain damage and gave his family back the husband and father they know and love.
As someone who stays fit and loves to play tennis, Tom D. never could have imaged suffering a heart attack during a match. Paramedics rushed him to Chilton Medical Center, where cardiologists implanted a mechanical heart pump – a service available at few community hospitals – to restore normal blood flow throughout his body. They then cleared his blocked arteries via an angioplasty. Today, Tom is back on the tennis court, knowing full well that might not have been possible without Atlantic Health System’s vast network of advanced heart care.
Cancer Care Patient Stories
Brian S.'s Story
When you love making music as much as Brian S. of Cranford, you can lose track of time when you’re strumming on your guitar. But time stopped still in May of 2021 when Brian got some sobering news – he had colon cancer.
But because of the care he received from a team of oncology specialists at Overlook Medical Center, a part of Atlantic Health System Cancer Care, Brian is back to the life he loves – on stage plucking and strumming his guitar and riding his fully-custom Harley chopper built with a 1958 engine.
Darren R.'s Story
“Dr. Thomas...made everything better instantly.”
Darren R. had long suffered from bad seasonal allergies and never worried about swollen lymph nodes in his neck. But when the spring 2019 season ended and his neck remained enlarged, he knew something was amiss.
John K's Story
“It felt like something was constantly hitting it,” says 12-year-old John K. of the pain that took over his left leg in late 2020. That pain turned out to be osteosarcoma, a serious bone cancer that threatened to take his entire leg. He and his family turned to James Wittig, MD, and a team at Goryeb Children’s Hospital to save his leg, stop his cancer and get him back to walking again.
Megan C. knew her thyroid cancer diagnosis could greatly affect her singing career. That's why she turned to Morristown Medical Center's cancer experts, who successfully performed endocrine surgery, allowing her to continue pursuing her dreams.
When John E. learned he had a rare brain tumor, he chose to fight, but knowing he couldn't win this battle alone, he enlisted the help of the neurosurgeons at Overlook Medical Center.
"I knew that I could trust Overlook with my life," says John.
After surgical removal of the tumor and radiation treatments, John made a full recovery and today spreads his message of faith with others.
An avid golfer, Deane D. wasn't about to let prostate cancer slow him down. His primary care doctor referred him to Overlook Medical Center, where he received the revolutionary CyberKnife radiosurgery and after just five treatments, was cancer free without any pain or side effects.
Having just given birth, Kylene M. expected to spend the ensuing days resting with her newborn. Instead, she was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer, despite not being a smoker. Thoracic surgeons at Morristown Medical Center treated her with minimally invasive techniques that allowed her to avoid having open chest surgery. Now, Kylene is cancer-free and finally getting a chance to just enjoy being a mom.
As a pilot, Susan F. is accustomed to dealing with a little turbulence. So, when a routine mammogram detected breast cancer, she was determined to get back to flying as quickly as possible. Physicians at Newton Medical Center collaborated to provide her with a personalized course of treatment without compromising her care. Before long, she was back in the cockpit and forever thankful for the high-quality medical services close to her Sparta, NJ home.
Silvia M. thought nothing of the lump in her breast because she was so young. By the time she sought medical advice at age 33, she had stage 3 breast cancer and felt utterly lost. Overlook Medical Center’s nurse navigator came to Silvia’s aid and guided her along every step of her journey, from mastectomy and chemotherapy to hormone therapy and immunotherapy. The support she received inspired her so much that once she was in remission, she joined Curémonos to help other women dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis.
John wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to ride a motorcycle again when his melanoma continued to progress despite aggressive treatments. One of his oncologists referred him to the Atlantic Melanoma Center, where Eric Whitman, MD was leading a phase II tumor infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) clinical trial that he thought might help. This new type of personalized immunotherapy reversed the growth of John’s melanoma and has him thinking about resurrecting his bike from storage.
As a busy wife, mother, and third-year family medicine resident at Overlook Medical Center, Natalie R. routinely put everyone else’s needs before her own … until a diagnosis of breast cancer turned the young doctor into a patient.
Orthopedics Patient Stories
As a personal trainer, Charlene thought she understood the human body well enough, but when her own attempts at pain relief failed, she sought professional help. She eventually had both hips replaced eight months a part at Morristown Medical Center. Today, she is completely pain free and continues to inspire her clients with her remarkable recovery.
A life-long athlete who had grown tired of playing through pain, Stacey T. opted to have endoscopic spine surgery at Hackettstown Medical Center. This innovative procedure not only resulted in a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery, but also allowed Stacey to resume all of her sports.
“I used to have pain every single day and now, I rarely even take an over-the-counter pain medicine!" says Stacey. "I can’t say enough good things about everyone involved in my care at Hackettstown Medical Center.”
Mickey S. has spent his life competing at a high level, so when his arthritic knee began to fail, he refused to give up running, despite the pain. As the races became increasingly more difficult, he turned to the orthopedic surgeons at Atlantic Health System, who planned a total joint replacement procedure that gave him the best chance of continuing to follow his passion.
Mickey says of his doctor, “He knew I would run, against his advice, and gave me a knee that would work for that.”
Michael I. loves being a plumber, but his career was in jeopardy when a car accident injured his back. No longer able to bend over or sit for an extended period of time, he consulted the orthopedic specialists at Morristown Medical Center for help. They performed a spinal fusion procedure that restored Michael’s mobility and allowed him to resume work.
There’s no greater disappointment for athletes like Adrianne than when an injury lands them on the sidelines. She turned to the experts at Atlantic Sports Health, who not only diagnosed and treated her hip fracture, but also understood its physical and psychological impact. They worked with Adrianne to develop a physical rehabilitation regime that addressed all of her fitness goals and within three months, she was back at the gym preparing for a marathon.
When Phil strained a muscle doing a home repair, he knew he had to get help. Having been successfully treated for muscle injuries and arthritis before, he knew exactly where to go – Chilton Medical Center.
Neuroscience Patient Stories
Barry R. thought he knew all about the debilitating effects of strokes from his family history, but when he suffered one of his own at age 61, he learned just how far treatments had advanced. Thanks to telestroke technology and a medical team ready for his arrival at Overlook Medical Center, Barry received the clot-busting medicine tPA within just 14 minutes – a record for the hospital at that time and well within the 45-minute national standard.
Diagnosed with a brain tumor as large as a grapefruit, Tim Mertz turned to the neurosurgical experts at Overlook Medical Center. They used cutting-edge technology to create a "road map" of his brain, which increased the chances of successfully removing the cancer, followed by CyberKnife treatment. Within just five days, he was out of the hospital recovering and today shares his experience to help others coping with difficult medical decisions.
Although it's rare for a 31-year-old to experience a stroke, doctors at Hackettstown Medical Center were quick to suspect that was the case with Lindsey S. When a CT scan and angiogram revealed a tear in her carotid artery, she was flown by medical helicopter to Overlook Medical Center's Stroke Center, where neurosurgeons performed a complex procedure that offered the best chance of survival. The surgery was a success and Lindsey quickly began to resume a normal life with her husband and two children.
Abbey V. is an active college student, so you’d never guess that she had spinal reconstruction surgery just months before her freshman year. Diagnosed with scoliosis at a young age, Abbey was determined to not let her worsening pain and immobility affect her future. She decided to have spinal fusion surgery at Morristown Medical Center, where doctors used the latest technology to straighten her spine with minimal recovery time.
Mark B.'s Story
With a high-powered legal career, hobbies like waterskiing and paddle boarding, and an equally active family at home, it was hard for Mark B. to fathom slowing down. That started to change when he began experiencing seizures and other difficulties. When he was diagnosed with a brain tumor, specifically a frontal lobe meningioma, Mark connected with the experts at the Gerald J. Glasser Brain Tumor Center. His surgeon successfully removed the tumor, including unwrapping parts of the tumor from around Mark’s optical and olfactory nerves.
Pregnant with her second child, Rita worried for herself and her unborn baby when doctors discovered a tumor on her spine. As the pain in her back intensified and severely limited her movement, she knew she would need a surgeon who could adeptly operate without complicating her pregnancy. Overlook Medical Center’s chief of neurosurgery took the case and with the aid of a multidisciplinary team of specialists, which included Rita’s OB-GYN, he successfully removed the tumor. Rita later gave birth to a healthy little girl and has regained her mobility – a blessing she relishes with a third child on the way.
Robyn had been treating her epilepsy with medication for several years, but after a seizure caused her to crash her car into a telephone pole, injuring herself and her son, she was ready to consider surgical treatment. Specialists at Overlook Medical Center’s Level 4 Epilepsy Center isolated the region of Robyn’s brain that was causing her symptoms and performed epilepsy surgery to correct it. Since then, she’s rejuvenated her life with advancements in both her career and musical pursuits.
Mark L.'s Story
Faced with a benign tumor that was pressing on his cranial nerves and interfering with his quality of life, Mark L. wasn’t comfortable with his doctor’s wait-and-watch approach. So, he sought a second opinion and found help at Overlook Medical Center's Gerald J. Glasser Brain Tumor Center.
Mark’s doctor changed his life with a noninvasive radiosurgery device called CyberKnife.®
When Michelle began struggling with dizzy spells, headaches and even a seizure, she knew she needed help. An fMRI revealed a large tumor on her brain. Dr. Kyle Chapple reviewed the scan and, in the following days, prepared Michelle for surgery. After a complex, six-hour surgery and several days in Overlook’s Neuro Intensive Care Unit, Michelle regained all of her motor skills, and has now returned to her life.
Christine was taking large doses of medication to control her Parkinson’s disease, but it was gradually losing its effectiveness. Overlook Medical Center’s movement disorders team recommended a leading-edge treatment called deep brain stimulation (DBS) to restore her quality of life. DBS is a surgically-implanted device, similar to a pacemaker, that controls the brain’s motor function with electrical impulses. Since the operation, Christine’s medication has been reduced and she once more enjoys outings with her husband free of tremors.
For 33-year-old Isabel C., family means everything. When she learned she had a brain tumor shortly after giving birth, her first concern was for her two young children. To give herself the best chance of conquering her tumor, Isabel entrusted her surgeon at the Glasser Brain Tumor Center to remove as much of the tumor as possible. Doing so required a specialized and extremely precise surgical approach.
Maureen & Denise's Story
Roughly 12,000 people are diagnosed with glioblastomas – an aggressive, stage IV brain cancer – each year in the United States. When Maureen M. learned she was one of them, she was surprised to learn a neighbor on her block, Denise K., was given the exact same diagnosis just two years earlier. They both say their unique friendship has given hope and purpose to their journeys.
When Maureen M. walked into her first follow-up appointment with the medical team at the Gerald J. Glasser Brain Tumor Center after undergoing brain surgery, she wasn’t just making a fashion statement with her glittery gold high heels. She was making a statement about her resolve to beat stage IV glioblastoma – an aggressive form of brain cancer – and not let it stop her from living her life to the fullest.
Maternity Care Patient Stories
Laura’s pregnancy was going smoothly until the 30th week when her water broke. She headed straight for Overlook Medical Center, where three weeks later, she gave birth to premature twins.
“I would definitely recommend Overlook Medical Center to any of my friends who were expecting babies," says Laura. "I’m confident that they would be really happy with the care that they received.”
Divya and Srinath S. were prepared for twins, but not necessarily a fast-track delivery schedule. Due to high blood pressure, Divya was admitted to Overlook Medical Center at the 32nd week of pregnancy and placed on bed rest. Two weeks later, Avni and Anay were born, averaging just four pounds each. Within the NICU, they received round-the-clock, expert care, so they could grow and thrive. Divya, meanwhile, picked up some child care pointers from our helpful staff that boosted her confidence as a first-time mom.
Michael and Marie's Story
Most couples don’t expect to exchange vows in a hospital, but that’s exactly what happened when Marie went into labor just days before her wedding to Michael. They didn’t want to list “fiancée” as the father on the birth certificate, so Michael and Marie asked the chaplain at Morristown Medical Center to marry them. Thirty seconds after the husband kissed the bride, doctors performed a C-section and delivered a healthy baby boy. It was the best wedding present newly-wed parents could ask for.
Bariatrics Patient Stories
Kathleen knew something had to change when playing with her children became too difficult because of her weight. She chose to undergo gastric sleeve surgery at Overlook Medical Center, which helped her lose 120 pounds. Now, she feels like a "new mom" and eagerly partakes in family bicycle rides.
Stephanie's bariatric surgery was a gift of good health not only to herself, but also her son. After having a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy procedure at Morristown Medical Center, her Atlantic Medical Group doctors coached her through the dietary and lifestyle changes necessary for successful weight loss. Her self-esteem and energy levels returned, which to the delight of her nine-year-old, have allowed her to keep up with his activities.
Spine Care Patient Stories
Jill D., 55, of Hewitt, NJ, had been suffering from back pain for years. After two years of treating her spondylolisthesis medicinally, the pain radiating down her back and legs became unbearable. Thankfully, her sister recommended a consult with Scott A. Meyer, MD, who explained that Jill would be an excellent candidate for the TOPS clinical trial.
Jill, the first patient in NJ to participate in the trial, is now pain-free. "Thanks to Dr. Meyer, I feel like a completely new person.”
Wound Care Patient Stories
Firefighter Daryl R. is used to putting others first, often at the risk of his own well-being. However, when his uncontrolled diabetes resulted in a serious wound on his foot, he knew he could no longer deny there was a problem. On the advice of a fellow firefighter, he went to Overlook Wound Healing – Union Campus for expert care and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Doctors there saved his foot and helped him better manage his diabetes.
Geriatric Care Patient Stories
Dr. Winters' Story
As Dr. Stephen Winters saw his parents struggling to keep their independence in their advancing years, he knew he needed a plan that both addressed their physical needs and also respected their desire for autonomy. The specialists at the Geriatric Assessment Center at Morristown Medical Center evaluated Mr. and Mrs. Winters abilities, limitations, and medical and psychosocial requirements. With this information and the Center’s continued support, Dr. Winters was able to provide his parents a quality of life and degree of safety that made everyone happy.
Nancy’s mother has lived in the same house in Morristown almost her entire life, but as she got older, her daughter became increasingly worried about her ability to stay there. So, Nancy turned to the team of geriatric specialists at the David and Joan Powell Center for Healthy Aging, who not only provided the unique medical care her mom required, but also made home safety recommendations to ensure her independence.
Pediatric Care Patient Stories
Like any other high school freshman, Dominic L. had big plans, but they were almost derailed when a gym accident left him with a crushed and partially severed finger. His father rushed him to Chilton Medical Center’s Children’s Center, where an orthopedic hand surgeon quickly operated to prevent a permanent impairment. Dominic made a complete recovery and was able to resume his drumming lessons and track team workouts without a hitch.
At just five-years-old, Juliet N. was diagnosed with leukemia. Her family turned to Goryeb Children’s Hospital and Valerie Fund Children’s Center to help them through that intense period. With a team led by Dr. Steven L. Halpern, Juliet received treatment for her cancer, and Juliet and her family received care and support for all their emotional needs.
Born with a cleft lip and palate, Christian I. found it difficult to fit in at school. His mother took him to the Craniofacial Center at Goryeb Children’s Hospital, where a team of experts surgically repaired his facial structure and helped improve his speech. Now, he’s made new friends and is a proud member of a youth soccer team.
Belle has been living with cystic fibrosis for 17 years, but she hasn’t’ let the chronic illness impact her love of playing lacrosse. Pediatric pulmonologists at Goryeb Children’s Hospital, along with a multidisciplinary team of specialists, developed a treatment regimen that ensures her lungs and digestive system are able to support the rigors of intense athletic activity. As a result, she has not only stayed healthy throughout her life, but has also excelled at lacrosse and plans to play at the collegiate level.
Sofia was frightened when doctors diagnosed her daughter, Gianna, with a form of epilepsy caused by a brain tumor. Goryeb Children’s Hospital, however, gave her much needed hope. Using a high-tech monitoring system, our specialists determined that Gianna’s seizures were not coming from areas of the brain that controlled vital functions, which made her a good candidate for surgery. Gianna is now seizure-free thanks to the operation and according to her surgeon, has a very good chance of staying that way for the rest of her life.
Rehabilitation Patient Stories
When Nancy M. accidentally fell down a flight of stairs, shattering her leg in 30 places, she wasn’t sure how much mobility she’d ever have again. She arrived for physical therapy at Hackettstown Medical Center in a wheelchair and after 27 sessions of strength and agility exercises, was able to walk once more. Since then, Nancy’s continued to progress and has even been able to take up gardening.
Women's Health Patient Stories
A fitness fanatic, Nancy H. knows her body well. So, when she developed a small belly bulge two years ago, she grew concerned. Then came another troubling sign: frequent nighttime trips to the bathroom. “It made me feel older than I really was,” says Nancy, 54. She had four non-cancerous fibroids insider her uterus that were pressing against her bladder. Instead of having a hysterectomy or waiting for menopause, Nancy found relief with a newer, non-surgical procedure called uterine fibroid embolization.
Eileen L. assumed the unexplained weight gain and discomfort in her midsection was just an early start to menopause, but her instinct told her to seek professional advice. She was later glad that she did because diagnostic tests revealed a large cyst on one of her ovaries. Her gynecologist removed it using minimally invasive gynecologic surgery, which allowed Eileen to recover quicker and spend more time with her two daughters.
Surgical Care Patient Stories
Intense back pain sent local musician Tony K. to the Emergency Department at Newton Medical Center. There, a surgical team used their skills and experience to remove his gallbladder laparoscopically. Thanks to the great care Tony received, he and his band were able to perform at the Wine & Roses fundraiser only four days later.