First Patient “Graduates” from Cardiac Rehab

Deborah Heart and Lung Center patient Anthony Rodriquez of Browns Mills was recognized as the first “graduate” from the Hospital’s new Cardiac Rehabilitation Program. The new program opened in the spring in the newly constructed medical office building on Deborah’s campus.

Rodriquez just completed 36 sessions during the past three months. The 40-year old married father of two has congestive heart failure, and is on the heart transplant list at Robert Wood Johnson. In the past six months, he has moved up on the list, and now is number two in line. “I am trying to get myself as healthy as possible pre-transplant,” he said.

Exercising three days a week on the stationary bike, leg machine, treadmill, and arm machine, Rodriquez said that cardiac rehab has been a great experience. “Everyone here is so friendly,” he said “and they are so concerned about me. Working closely with me, monitoring me, and making sure I am using the equipment properly has made me so much more confident about what I can do. Although my rehab is ending, I will continue to exercise at home, but because of the staff here at Deborah, I know what I can do. Before I was too nervous to exercise, worried about the impact on my heart.”

Cardiac rehab Medical Director S. Justin Szawlewicz, MD praised Rodriquez. “He is in great shape now. He has done a terrific job at taking care of himself and preparing for his upcoming surgery.”

Cardiac nurse Kim Brown, RN, was excited to present Rodriquez with a certificate recognizing his achievement, and celebrating the first patient to complete rehab. “We all feel so blessed here to be able to offer you this program,” she said “and are so happy that we could be part of your journey.”