Former Norwood Mayor Reminisces, ‘From the Heart,’ about His Crozer-Keystone Cardiologist
1987 may seem like a long time ago, but George McCloskey remembers it vividly.
The former mayor and resident of Norwood recalls the day of his cardiac event: “I worked as a welder at GE, and I was doing a job at the time. I had my shield down, and all of a sudden I started sweating profusely and had extreme pressure in my chest, like an elephant was standing on it. My left arm then went numb.”
McCloskey was rushed to Taylor Hospital’s Emergency Department, where he was met by Samuel Ruby, M.D., Crozer-Keystone cardiologist. Ruby evaluated McCloskey, and while the symptoms suggested a heart attack, this was, in fact, not the case. McCloskey would need a pacemaker to keep his heart beating at a normal rate. The news came as a shock to the then 57-year-old former Marine. “Both of my parents died from heart disease in their sixties, but I didn’t think much about how that related to my health,” he says. “I played football and boxed in the Marine Corps. I ran thirty miles every week until I was 67 years old.”
After the procedure, McCloskey would go back to his normal routine – working at GE until he retired in 1990, enjoying precious time with his six children, 14 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, and even serving for 31 years as mayor of Norwood until 2014. All while fitting in time for favorite pastimes such as the casino and racetrack. He would eventually need a defibrillator to keep his heart’s rhythm regular, and in 2009 Ruby referred McCloskey to his colleague, Crozer-Keystone electrophysiologist David Kleinman, M.D., who performed the procedure at Crozer-Chester Medical Center.
Today, looking back on his experiences, McCloskey is thankful that Ruby and the Crozer-Keystone team were there when he needed them most. “The level of care I received was great; top of the line,” he says. “Dr. Ruby made me aware of what was going on and what to expect. The doctors, the staff – everyone was accommodating. But Dr. Ruby – I thank God for him every day. He saved my life.
“What makes Dr. Ruby so special is he listens,” McCloskey continues. “He doesn’t rush you. And if you need a procedure, he calls to check on you the next day to see how you’re doing.”
McCloskey acted quickly when he started feeling unwell, which Ruby wholeheartedly encourages. “Even though it ultimately was not the diagnosis, George had some of the classic symptoms of a heart attack – such as shortness of breath and profuse sweating,” he says. “But these aren’t the only symptoms. Some people get indigestion – or what feels like heartburn, pain in the jaw, chest tightness, or pain in one or both arms. They might also feel very tired – almost to the point of exhaustion. The takeaway here is that if you experience any of these symptoms, and they seem out of the ordinary, seek emergency medical attention. You’ll get peace of mind if it isn’t something serious, but if it is, you could be saving your own life.”
As for McCloskey, he’s grateful for the chance meeting with Ruby and the 30-year doctor-patient relationship they’ve enjoyed since. “I love the man, as a doctor and a person, and would recommend him to anyone,” McCloskey says.” I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.”
Crozer-Keystone is a longtime leader in the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of patients with cardiovascular disease. In May 2017, Crozer-Keystone celebrates 25 years of offering cardiac surgical services, including the first open-heart procedure in Delaware County, to the community it proudly serves.
For more information, visit www.crozerkeystone.org/Heart. Call 1-800-CK-HEALTH (1-800-254-3258) to find a cardiologist or cardiovascular surgeon who’s right for you.