Meet Bill Baker: Bon Secours 100th Watchman Patient

Friday, September 27, 2019

Bill and Linda

Millions of Americans struggle with atrial fibrillation (AFib), including Bill Baker. The 79-year-old says he’s had an irregular heartbeat for decades. However, thanks to expert cardiac care at Bon Secours, Bill is now enjoying a healthier life with his wife of 56 years, Linda.

Atrial fibrillation can cause blood clots, and as a result, is the leading cause of stroke and congestive heart failure in the country.

“It can make patients feel tired, short of breath, sometimes have chest pain and overall a sense that’s something’s not right,” explains Bon Secours Cardiologist Matthew Sellers, M.D.

Like many others who suffer from AFib, Bill had been forced to take medication to help prevent clots.

“I’ve been on blood thinners for years and began to have some difficulties monitoring it properly, so I became concerned about my continued use of the drugs,” says Bill.

His concerns were realized a few years ago when he developed a subdural hematoma, or a brain bleed. Linda called it a scary experience that made the negative possibilities of her husband’s condition more real.

At Bon Secours, we understand that every family is a universe. A network of people who love, support, and count on one other to be there. Our care extends to our patient’s families and our communities to make lives better.

This was certainly the case for Linda and Bill. In fact, Linda became very intrigued when she read about a new procedure called the Watchman.

“The doctor said Bill was a perfect candidate for the procedure,” she says as she recalls being relieved her husband was eligible.

The Watchman implant, currently available at Bon Secours, allows doctors to close off a small chamber at the top of the heart, called the left atrial appendage, which prevents clots from forming and entering the blood stream. After it is implanted, tissue grows over the Watchman device providing protection against strokes.

This also removes the need for patients, like Bill, to take medication for the rest of their lives – something that makes all the difference.

“I felt like I was cut loose from this chain around my neck. I feel a lot better and complete again rather than being infirmed,” says Bill.

Being off the medication means a less restrictive diet, fewer lab tests, and a sense of relief that has led Bill and Linda to have a more positive mental state about his health overall.

“The procedure went pretty smooth. I’d do it again in a second! In fact, I feel like I’m 49-years-old!” he laughs.

Who is the center of your universe? At Bon Secours, we believe in celebrating the people we could never live without. Take a moment to nominate the center of your universe and tell us why they mean the world to you. 

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