Advanced Skills Made a Difference for a Hoag Employee's Mom

“I’m feeling great. I’m line dancing. I’m working outside. If it weren’t for Dianne finding Dr. Yalvac, I would just be on medication. I wouldn’t have the energy to do the things I want to do, and I like to keep busy and move fast. I feel like I can do something with my life now.”

When Evelyn Gibbons-Haynes’ doctor told her that there was nothing he could do for her blocked stent, he was probably right. An angiogram showed that a cardiac stent Evelyn relied upon for years was now 80 percent blocked. Most doctors and hospitals aren’t equipped to solve a problem as intractable as that.

But some doctors and hospitals are.

Evelyn’s daughter, Dianne Masri, is a vascular technologist at Hoag. She spoke with cardiologist Ethan Yalvac, M.D., and one week later, Evelyn made the trip from her home in Fresno to Newport Beach to find out if something could be done, after all.

“I attend all their meetings, and I know that they’re up-to-date and not afraid to try new things,” Dianne said of Hoag’s physicians. “I talked to Dr. Yalvac about my mom and he said, ‘I can fix that.’”

And he did. Using a catheter inserted in Evelyn’s arm, Dr. Yalvac was able to re-stent the artery and start her blood flowing again. Traditionally, surgeons will access the artery through an incision in the groin, but through a radial artery procedure, performed at only top, innovative hospitals, allowed Dr. Yalvac better access.

“Hoag has young and ambitious cardiologists, who are constantly learning and striving to provide the very best care for our patients,” Dianne said.

For her part, Evelyn said she could “just hug” Dr. Yalvac. The 88-year-old widow maintains a beautiful and well-manicured garden of fruit trees and flowers on 10 acres. Everyone asks her who her gardener is – and is surprised to learn that she does it all herself.

But for the past three years, her energy and stamina has sharply declined. It got to the point that Evelyn would go to the supermarket with a list of 10 items and only have the energy to search around for and purchase two or three. She had been relying on her golf cart to take her around her property and gave up on the line dancing that had been her passion for 20 years.

Now, with her new stent in place, Evelyn has parked the golf cart and is back out on the dance floor.

“I’m feeling great,” she said. “I’m line dancing. I’m working outside. If it weren’t for Dianne finding Dr. Yalvac, I would just be on medication. I wouldn’t have the energy to do the things I want to do, and I like to keep busy and move fast. I feel like I can do something with my life now.”