Mercy Hospital

Heart Surgeon Performs Life-Saving Operation on Longtime Assistant

A heart specialist at Mercy HCA Hospital saved his assistant's life with emergency heart surgery

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Debbie Segreti had a big problem seven weeks ago. She needed emergency heart surgery, and one of her best friends stepped in.

"It was a very difficult emotional decision to agree to do it," heart surgeon Dr. Allan Stewart said.

That's because Dr. Stewart and Segreti met 20 years ago in New York when he was a young doctor.

"It was like he instantly became my son, my husband met him, and he became our son," said Segreti, who is now Dr. Stewart's executive assistant.

They've been inseparable. Segreti even moved down here to South Florida after Dr. Stewart relocated his practice. Their families spend holidays together and they've formed a bond of the heart in more ways than one. 

"Songs are written, poems are written about the heart and the love and it's also very mortal," Dr. Stewart said. "Nothing makes you feel more mortal than having a heart operation."

Heart disease is still the No. 1 cause of death in the country. Segreti and Dr. Stewart wanted to tell their story in February when people focus on their cardiovascular health.

Dr. Stewart not only sees patients at Mercy Hospital in Coconut Grove but also in all of HCA's Healthcare branches in South Florida. 

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