Four Family Members Re-Unite to Thank the Cardiac Surgeon Who Saved Their Lives

MANHASSET, NY – Members of the Bove family recently marked American Heart Month by coming to North Shore University Hospital and publicly thanking the cardiac surgeon who saved them and put them on track to lead healthier lives.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of February being called “American Heart Month.”

John Bove, 52, of Copiague, joined his sister, Frances Bove Agosta, 55, of Hauppauge; his aunt, Pauline Bove, 85, of Massapequa Park; and his mother, Angelina Bove, 80, also of Hauppauge, at a press event Wednesday to discuss the various cardiac diseases that brought them to the attention of Alan Hartman, MD, chairman, Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, North Shore-LIJ Health System.

Dr. Hartman also performed heart surgery on another member of the family, Joe LaBarbera of Oakdale, in 1997. He is thriving and enjoying life in Florida.

During a press conference held at the hospital, Dr. Hartman explained that heart disease is usually attributable to two major factors—heredity and lifestyle. With slides illustrating the various conditions experienced by the Bove clan, Dr. Hartman stressed that education and awareness are essential to good heart health in an aging population.

“The Bove family is a great example of how heart disease should be approached and managed,” he said. “The purpose of heart surgery is to help our patients get back to their lives. Of course, patients will think often of their surgeries, but this is not a subject on which to dwell. The Boves have done a wonderful job of getting on with their lives.”

As proof that heart disease often does run in families, each member of the panel discussed his or her condition.  Both John Bove and his sister Frances had mitral valve replacement surgery to repair a prolapsed mitral valve—she in 2004 and he in 2013.  Pauline, who reported shortness of breath whenever she went dancing, had quadruple bypass surgery in 1999. Finally, Angelina underwent TAVR (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement) surgery in December of 2013.

 “As you can see from this family, there are many different types of heart disease. Certainly, we have to consider the role of genetics, but we also have to look at what we are doing to our bodies and consider the interplay of these two important factors,” Dr. Hartman said. “But I have to say, I’ve never had the privilege of operating on five members of the same family. This was a great privilege.”
Each member of the Bove clan spoke about their gratitude to Dr. Hartman and the surgical teams who gave them back their quality of life.
 “There were times when each of us had to wonder if we were going to pull through,” Pauline Bove said. “And now, we’re all back to living our lives the way they were before.  We’re just so happy to be here.”

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