Health

California Heart Surgeon Helps Doctor Who Delivered Him 45 Years Ago

| by Jared Keever

A California heart surgeon says he was more than happy to help one of his most recent patients once he realized that the man was the doctor who delivered him 45 years ago. 

Dr. Robert Kincade, of Sacramento’s Sutter Memorial Hospital, said he was struck by the coincidence that his patient, Dr. Jim Affleck, was a retired obstetrician who practiced for over 30 years at the hospital where he was born. 

After a preliminary meeting, Kincade went home and dug out his birth certificate. He said he wasn’t all that surprised to find Affleck’s signature on the bottom right hand corner. 

It made the opportunity to install a new aortic valve in Affleck’s chest all the more special. The valve, approved for use just this June, is small enough to be inserted in an artery in the groin and then put in place. That prevents the need to open a patient’s chest. 

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“It’s amazing to be able to offer this to people,” Kincade told The Sacramento Bee. “And it’s great to help (Affleck) out, because he really helped me out 45 years ago.”

Affleck, who is now 84, said his surgery was a success and he can already tell a difference in his health. That’s the outcome he prefers. 

“We didn’t have to come full circle on this delivery-death thing,” he told ABC News, joking about the coincidence. 

Affleck said he was impressed Kincade was able to piece together the history. After 33 years as an obstetrician in the Sacramento area, he said he lost count of how many babies he delivered, but estimates it to be between 3,000 and 4,000. 

“I was surprised because, as an obstetrician, your patient is the mother. You just hand the baby off to the pediatrician and never see it again,” he said. “I was surprised he would look at his birth certificate and remember that and his mother remembered it too.”

Kincade met with his patient for a final check-up last week. Affleck said the recovery is going just fine. 

“I feel like a new person,” he said. 

Sources: The Sacramento Bee, ABC News

Photo Source: Sutter Health via ABC News