Giving Thanks for Lifesaving Heart Care


Manuel Castellanos had serious cardiac surgery this year. First was what we refer to as the bridge-to-transplant, a Left Ventricular Assist Device or LVAD, the mechanical pump implanted in the chest to help the heart function and strengthen the rest of the body for upcoming heart transplant.

Throughout the journey, Manuel was able to rely heavily on his team, a feature of treatment that pulled him through. He was so grateful upon recovery that he wrote this letter to his cardiac surgeon, Yuji Kaku, MD, Director of the Cardiogenic Shock Program. He wanted us to share his gratitude as well. Read the letter below—

Doctor Kaku,

Never in a million years did I think I would meet an Angel on earth and that is Dr. Kaku alongside his prestigious team that saved my life. Dr. Kaku and his team have saved my life twice, during my LVAD open heart surgery and my heart transplant.

Dr. Kaku expressed genuine care about my journey from the moment I met him. In what seemed to be the most vulnerable and discouraging time in my life, he managed to shed light and encourage me that this wasn’t the end of my journey on earth. He spoke to me with great poise and assured me that I will wake up again to see my beautiful daughter and wife.

Whenever I experienced any minor setbacks throughout my recovery, Dr. Kaku was readily available to assist me no matter the time or day. I truly admire his ability to be professional and selfless. I felt 100 percent safe and confident in the care I was receiving by him and his team.

Dr. Kaku always took the time to educate me on anything that was vital in aiding a successful recovery. His communication skills were consistently clear and concise with a touch of confidence that always ended in “You’re doing great Manny!” His positive attitude and support contributed to my speedy recovery.

These past few years have been a humbling journey that have changed my perspective on life. Life is fragile and I’m blessed to have encountered a professional team with groundbreaking dynamics that have literally saved it. To wake up and breathe new life is something I never would’ve imagined but thanks to Dr. Kaku and his team, they made it all possible.

Yours Truly,

Manuel Castellanos