Patient Going Strong Following New Heart Procedure

Terry and Lloyd Charlton

Terry and Lloyd Charlton

Lloyd Charlton celebrated his 90th birthday in style. At a party last year, to the delight of the crowd gathered, he and his 20-year-old granddaughter, Bridget Charlton, tap danced together to the song "Chattanooga Choo Choo." Their soft-shoe debut proved especially poignant as Mr. Charlton came close to missing this milestone altogether.

"We got applause, but no one asked us for an encore," says Mr. Charlton, now 91.

Forget encore, Mr. Charlton nearly missed the chance to show off his footwork had it not been for Robert Kipperman, MD, co-director of the Valve and Structural Heart Program at Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute.

Only six months before his dancing duet, Mr. Charlton woke up with a pain in his chest. "I couldn't take a deep breath and thought I had pneumonia," he says.

After an x-ray at a nearby hospital, he was rushed by ambulance to Morristown Medical Center, where Dr. Kipperman diagnosed a torn heart valve. This means his valve wasn't closing fully and blood was regurgitating back instead of flowing out to his body. The remedy would be a MitraClip® Valve procedure.

"It wasn't a good prognosis," says Terry, his wife of 17 years. "It was either going to turn out very bad, or good. It turned out very good, but he was hanging on a thread for a while."

Exterior building photo

Surgeons at the Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute at Morristown Medical Center perform more than 700 valve operations each year, placing the heart valve program in the top three percent of all cardiac surgical programs in the United States.

Mr. Charlton was certainly in the right place, as Morristown was one of the first East Coast hospitals to offer this repair, and Dr. Kipperman served as an original investigator. For the procedure, a camera was inserted through Mr. Charlton's esophagus to guide Dr. Kipperman's hands as he inserted a catheter in his patient's thigh and up the artery to his heart, where he attached two clips onto the valve.

Throughout the medical crisis, Mr. Charlton's family also remained in caring hands. When his three children arrived, doctors calmly explained the situation to each one.

"They started from the top and re-explained the whole procedure every time," says Mrs. Charlton. "They consistently came across as optimistic, even as serious as it was. I will always remember their kindness and patience. Their demeanor helped me in coping with everything."

Seeing her active husband so incapacitated proved difficult, a profound departure for the man who learned to play the trumpet at age 80 and still enjoys gardening and leading historic tours through Boonton, his birthplace.

After the successful procedure, Mr. Charlton decided to pay it forward, based on a connection he shared with Dr. Kipperman — both graduated from Boonton High School. To show his gratitude, Mr. Charlton nominated his doctor for Boonton High's Wall of Fame. It's an honor Mr. Charlton received for self-publishing four books about his beloved hometown. Today, Dr. Kipperman's name appears on the same wall as a "Medical Cardio Pioneer."

"And surely, he is just that," says Mr. Charlton. "Thanks to him, I plan on living another 20 years." That's time enough to enjoy many more daffodils and dances. Here's to encores.

To learn more about Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute, contact Cynthia W. O'Donnell, JD at 973.593.2418 or cynthia.odonnell@atlantichealth.org.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to the Foundation for Morristown Medical Center a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to the Foundation for Morristown Medical Center, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 475 South Street, Morristown, NJ 07960, or its successor thereto, ______________ [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Morristown Medical Center or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Morristown Medical Center as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Morristown Medical Center as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Morristown Medical Center where you agree to make a gift to Morristown Medical Center and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.

First name is required
Last Name is required
Please include an '@' in the email address

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.

First name is required
Last Name is required
Please include an '@' in the email address