Augustine

The Bionic Man

Augustine Concepion

Augustine Concepcion’s story is not for the faint of heart.

At two years old, Augustine was running in his house when he hit his chest on the corner of a table in his living room. The impact caused him to pass out and turn black and blue, sending his mother into a panic.

Despite a snowstorm, Augustine’s mother wrapped him up in warm clothing and walked six blocks to the nearest hospital where he was diagnosed with a congenital heart block.

Due to the complexity of his case, Augustine was sent to Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (NBIMC), an RWJBarnabas Health facility. Upon arrival, he was immediately treated by Victor Parsonnet, MD, medical director of the Pacemaker and Defibrillator Evaluation Center, who ordered a blood transfusion, breathing tube and heart valve repair. A few days later, a pacemaker was implanted.

Since then, Augustine, now 47 years old, has undergone 104 heart-related surgeries and received 18 pacemakers. All but two pacemakers were implanted by Dr. Parsonnet – a man whom Augustine admires and respects.

“I owe him my life,” says Augustine. “Mention his name anywhere in the cardiac industry and they know who he is. He’s a world-renowned technology genius who helped develop certain pacemakers, but more than that, I know that he cares about me.”

“I don’t know any other life than being constantly in and out of the hospital,” says the Ocean Grove resident. “But I’ve been lucky enough to build relationships with the whole team at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center– doctors, nurses, surgical team – and they are all extraordinary.”

Being 100 percent pacemaker reliant, Augustine will have to undergo more heart-related surgeries his whole life, but he still maintains a positive attitude because he knows he has his “family” at Newark Beth Israel to take care of him.

  • A Letter From Augustine

  • My story is not for the faint of heart.

    At two years old, I hit my chest on the corner of a table in our living room. The impact caused me to pass out and turn black and blue, sending my mother into a panic.

    Despite a snowstorm, mom wrapped me up in warm clothing and walked six blocks to the nearest hospital. Due to the complexity of what was discovered, I was sent directly to Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.

    At two years old, I was diagnosed at The Beth with a congenital heart block.

    Upon arrival, I was immediately treated by Victor Parsonnet, MD, medical director of the Pacemaker and Defibrillator Evaluation Center, who ordered a blood transfusion, breathing tube and heart valve repair.

    A few days later, my first pacemaker was implanted.

    Forty-Five years later, I have undergone 104 heart-related surgeries and received 18 pacemakers. All but two pacemakers were implanted by Dr. Parsonnet- I owe him my life.

    He’s a world-renowned surgeon and technology genius who helped develop several pacemakers, but more than that, I know that he cares about me and that means so much. I don’t know any other life than being constantly in and out of the hospital, but I’ve been lucky enough to build relationships with the whole team at Newark Beth Israel – doctors, nurses, surgical team – and they are all extraordinary.

    I was the first person to test the nuclear and atomic pacemakers. I remember every change of technology, and I find it fascinating. This manmade object gives me life every day, and I have so much respect for it.

    I am 100 percent pacemaker reliant and will have to undergo heart-related surgeries my whole life, but I know I have my “family” at Newark Beth Israel to take care of me. When I walk into Newark Beth Israel, I feel at home. The hospital and entire staff mean the world to me.

    While my cardiac history is long and complex, I am just glad that I am alive to tell it and inspire others who may be facing a similar challenge.

    Augustine Concepcion
    Ocean Grove, NJ

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