Deborah Celebrates 60 Years of Open Heart Surgery

William DiMartinoToday Deborah Heart and Lung Center marked the 60th anniversary of its first open heart surgery. New Jersey’s first open heart procedure was performed by Dr. Charles Bailey on 3-year-old William DiMartino, establishing Deborah as a leader in cardiac care.

At the time in 1958, the Deborah Sanatorium and Hospital had made a decision to move into heart surgery, after streptomycin offered an effective treatment for tuberculosis, which Deborah – founded in 1922 – had made its medical focus.

DiMartino, of Newark, NJ, is shown in this file photo, being read to by Dora Hanson, 36, of Union City, who was the second heart surgery patient.

Those first two surgical procedures marked a new era in Deborah’s history, leading to today’s sophisticated heart, lung, and vascular center.