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Patients, Nurses Celebrate 1959 Heart Surgeries

Patients, Nurses Celebrate 1959 Heart Surgeries

Dayton Daily News

September 02, 2009

DAYTON – Rebecca Aygarn Talkie can’t recall if she was fearful of undergoing open-heart surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital on Nov. 13, 1959. She was 4.

But Talkie does remember being “very upset” at being placed in a crib, and jealous of a child who had more toys than her.

Talkie, one of the region’s first open-heart patients, was among the history makers reunited by Good Samaritan Hospital on Tuesday, Sept. 1, to mark 50 years of innovation in heart and vascular care at the hospital.

The region’s first open-heart surgery was performed July 16, 1959, at the hospital on 9-year-old Nada Mae Hoskins. Four nurses who were part of that first surgery team – Rosa Lee Weinert, Carolyn Bradfield, Carol Cartwright and Jeanette Schreck – also attended the reunion. Also there: Jeanetta Rich, daughter of Nada Mae, who died in 2000 at age 50.

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“She called you guys her guardian angels,” Rich told the nurses. She showed them an autograph book her mother gave her that many of those involved in the surgery had signed.

Many nurses recalled the night before Nada Mae’s surgery was a sleepless one, despite months of practice.

“We went to the chapel in the morning,” Bradfield said. “You were so aware of what was in your hands. This person was in your hands. It was a new feeling.”

The nurses would pray that their patients’ hearts would again “wiggle and beat” after being stopped for surgery. During that time, patients were kept alive with a heart-lung machine, partly funded through a talent show called “High Fever Follies.”

“We were really rudimentary,” recalled Bradfield, who was a “gofer” during Nada Mae’s surgery.

Added Weinert, "We had to use our common sense. It was more of a hands-on approach. Today, it’s more ‘machine-on.’ "

Nada Mae Hoskins and Talkie went on to have families and careers in health care. Hoskins ran a home-health agency in Hamilton for many years, her daughter said. Talkie, a cardiac nurse, has worked for 31 years at Mercy Hospital Fairfield near Cincinnati.

© YellowBrix 2009

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