Albert Kalter was rolled into the hospital on a gurney 16 years ago for bypass surgery.
A doctor, Barry Kaplan, now the co-director of Northwell Health’s heart hospital, successfully performed the surgery.
When it was over, Kalter said, “I want that young impressive Dr. Kaplan to be my go-to doctor for cardiology.”
Sixteen years later, Kalter is still a patient of Dr. Kaplan. On Wednesday he was on a podium praising the doctor at the dedication ceremony of North Shore University Hospital’s new heart facility.
The ceremony honored Sandra Atlas Bass, the donor responsible for the heart hospital that bears her name, who sat at a corner table in a white tent.
About 15 feet in front of her, Michael Dowling, CEO of Northwell Health, praised her, saying, “Her continued commitment and compassion in helping us elevate the quality of care we deliver.”
Kaplan, who spoke, too, said, “Ms. Bass has long been a pioneer of cardiac innovation.”
But Bass, whose latest donations bring her lifetime giving to Northwell to $93 million, didn’t boast about her contributions, saying only, “Giving is an opportunity to directly change people’s lives.”
Bass’ recent donation, a $25 million gift for the Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital on the Manhasset campus, adds to her previous gifts to support LIJ Medical Center’s Hearing and Speech Center and the hospital’s center for liver disease, which is also named after her.
Earlier donations from Bass funded the Arrhythmia Pacemaker Center at North Shore University Hospital.
Earlier this month, the state Department of Health approved Northwell’s Health’s application to establish a heart transplant surgery center at the Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital.
Bass was also named the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Horace Hagedorn Philanthropist of the Year in 2016.
“I believe that if you can save one person or one animal, you have begun to save the world,” Bass said.
The heart hospital is one of the largest centers for complex cardiac procedures in New York and has one of the state’s most significant cardiothoracic and interventional cardiology programs, hospital officials said.
“Our vision for the Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital is to create a destination where patients receive the highest levels of expertise, take part in the most innovative, technologically advanced therapies, and enjoy a patient experience that is unsurpassed regionally and nationally,” Kaplan said.