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The Bob Arnot Interview (Page 1 of 3)

An Interview with Dr. Bob Arnot

Gary Barg: Your dad passed away after a massive heart attack. I was hoping you would talk a little bit about your role as a family caregiver.

Bob Arnot:  Well, with both my parents, there were a number of chronic diseases that they had.  Both of them actually did have heart disease.  I, as a physician and advocate, of course, was really trying to upgrade their care, which is a tough, tough, tough thing to do. You first and foremost have to be a disruptor because, after all, Mom or Dad is very comfortable being wherever their head is at, being in with their old doctor. With both my parents, I had to push.

For instance, my mother had an aortic valve that had closed down to a very small area, way passed the time she should have had surgery.  Her doctor actually sent her home and said, I will see you in six months.  Well, she was not going to come back in six months.  She had a near-death episode and, fortunately, we got her into the hospital, got the right surgeon and a new aortic valve. She survived, but the tough thing about being a caregiver is that its not enough to just care an awful lot and do everything humanly possible.  You have to be able to navigate the health care system, which is far from easy.

Take, as an example, someone like my father who already had a first heart attack.  I pressed and pressed to make sure that he was on the right kinds of medications and got a lot of pushback from his doctor, like Oh, he is old and it kind of does not matter.  So it is a tough battle out there.  That is why I am so proud of the job we have done with this Web site.

GB: Here you are, a noted physician, and your dads doctor was giving you pushback.  Imagine what happens to family caregivers who arent doctors. What should caregivers expect after their loved one comes home from the hospital after having a heart event?


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