Organist's “Resurrection” Concert Thanks to Heart Surgeons at St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospitals
When his global tour recently brought him back to New York City, acclaimed concert organist David Briggs knew there were two special guests he would invite to the performance. Without these two men, there may not have been a concert. Without them, there may not have been a second chance at life for David Briggs.
Ten years ago, David Briggs collapsed in front of St. Luke's Hospital. After initial stabilization and diagnostic procedures at St. Luke’s it became clear to Dr. Mark Sherrid that David required surgical treatment. So, for five crucial hours in October 2003, his heart was stopped while Dr. Daniel Swistel of St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospitals performed life-saving surgery to correct the blockage of blood flow out of the heart due to obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition that causes a dangerous thickening the heart muscle.
On April 12th of this year, Briggs returned to New York to perform at St. John the Divine Cathedral—just 500 feet from St. Luke's Hospital where Dr. Sherrid and Dr. Swistel had treated Briggs that October day in 2003. His journey and his music had come full circle. It was his own version of “Resurrection.”
Also known as Gustav Mahler's Second Symphony, “Resurrection” describes the passion behind the classic piece that Briggs performed for his Manhattan audience. It is also epitomizes a decade-long revival for Briggs. Himself the transcriber of the intricate work for the organ, he has remained not only healthy and symptom-free but well enough and active enough to cross continents playing approximately 60 organ concerts each year. Concert organists work hard at their trade- the work is physically and mentally demanding. Its challenges require normal or near normal cardiac condition to succeed.
Patients like David Briggs rely on the heart programs and physicians at St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospitals to return them to healthy and productive lives. The Division of Cardiac Surgery has a long and distinguished tradition of providing outstanding surgical care for patients with cardiac disease so they can get back to doing what they love.
Dr. Mark Sherrid and Dr. Daniel Swistel are nationally recognized experts who regularly treat heart conditions like the one David Briggs experienced. Dr. Sherrid is Director of both the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Program and the Echocardiography Lab at Roosevelt Hospital. This program has grown to be the referral resource of choice for patients in the NY Metropolitan area, caring at present for 960 patients. Dr. Swistel, an Attending Surgeon at St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospitals, has helped to develop many of the techniques commonly used in cardiac surgical procedures today, including the ones used to treat hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Hearing that their patient was performing again was music to the ears of Dr. Mark Sherrid and Dr. Daniel Swistel. As for musician David Briggs, he hopes to never again miss a beat. Thanks to the local expertise of his doctors at St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospitals, his heart won't have to either.
To learn more about Dr. Mark Sherrid, Dr. Daniel Swistel, and the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Program at St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospitals, please visit www.hcmny.org/hcmprog/faculty.html.
For more information about David Briggs and his April 12th concert at St. John the Divine Cathedral, see newyork.cbslocal.com/2013/04/13/organist-returns-to-st-john-the-divine-cathedral-after-nearly-dying/.