Hannibal Regional Heart Center the Clear Choice for Local Resident


Frankford, Missouri resident Harry Benn is an avid quail hunter whose life took an unexpected turn just days before Christmas. Harry and his wife Alma enjoyed daily walks with their hunting dogs, but something was amiss. Harry, usually full of energy, found himself cutting these walks short due to breathlessness and fatigue.

A week before Christmas, Harry felt an unsettling shortness of breath and tightness in his chest as he climbed the stairs to bed. His wife, concerned, offered a trip to the hospital, but Harry hesitated, thinking rest would suffice. It wasn't until 3:00 am that Harry, unable to shake off the persistent difficulties, woke his wife to inform her that he did indeed need to go to the hospital.

Upon arriving at the Hannibal Regional Emergency Department, they initiated typical heart attack testing protocols. Dr. Al-Dabbas, cardiologist at Hannibal Regional Heart Center, met with Harry. Despite normal results from Harry's EKG, echocardiogram, and a negative heart enzyme test, Dr. Al-Dabbas, considering Harry's symptoms, performed a cardiac catheterization. Dr. Al-Dabbas' suspicions were confirmed when the procedure revealed multi-vessel heart disease with a significant blockage in the left main artery of the heart. Dr. Al-Dabbas explained that open heart surgery would offer Harry a much better outcome than placing stents. Grateful for Dr. Al-Dabbas' persistence Harry says, "I was really glad that, even though all my tests were coming back normal, Dr. Al-Dabbas continued to probe and get to the bottom of my symptoms."
Harry then met with Dr. Jose Torres, cardiothoracic surgeon at Hannibal Regional Heart Center, who explained the open heart surgery process. Despite being a new offering at Hannibal Regional, Harry had no hesitation about having the surgery there. "Dr. Torres reassured me that he had performed this surgery thousands of times before, so I knew I was in good hands." The alternative for Harry would have involved traveling to St. Louis or Columbia, Missouri, but the proximity to Christmas and the stress it would impose on his family made Hannibal Regional the clear choice.

On December 20th, amid the holiday buzz, Harry underwent open heart surgery, becoming the sixth patient to experience this groundbreaking procedure at Hannibal Regional. Miraculously, the recovery was swift. By Christmas Eve, Harry was not only discharged but also reunited with his family for a Christmas that held profound significance. "Dr. Torres and the incredible team at Hannibal Regional made my Christmas extra special. I'm profoundly thankful for their exceptional care that ensured I could cherish the holiday with my family!” Harry exclaimed.

In the heart of adversity, Harry's story proves that sometimes, the most extraordinary gifts come wrapped in unexpected packages. For more information about cardiology services at the Hannibal Regional Heart Center, call (573) 629-3960.