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Gayle Bellafiore

When retired educator Gayle Bellafiore sought medical treatment after experiencing what she thought was an irregular heartbeat, finding a physician who made her feel comfortable was not an easy task.

After visits with three doctors, the Smithtown resident met with Catholic Health’s St. Catherine of Siena Hospital’s Cardiologist and Electrophysiologist Michael R. Weber, M.D. It took only one appointment for Bellafiore to realize her search was over; she had found the right doctor.

“Having a heart condition is a learning curve and I needed an informed, available doctor to help me navigate my concerns,” she said. “What I liked about Dr. Weber was his conservative approach to treating my condition. Other doctors I met with wanted to immediately do certain procedures that I felt were unnecessary. Dr. Weber told me that he saw no reason to rush and do a procedure and treated my condition with medication.”

Diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and bradycardia, the medication prescribed by Dr. Weber quelled Bellafiore’s condition for several years. However, when her symptoms reoccurred with greater frequency, she underwent cryoablation at St. Francis Heart Center at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip.

Cryoablation is a minimally invasive procedure performed to restore normal heart rhythm by disabling heart cells that create an irregular heartbeat. A thin flexible tube called a balloon catheter is used to locate and freeze the heart tissue that triggers an irregular heartbeat.

Understandably, Bellafiore was nervous before having the procedure as she had not been in a hospital for 25 years. However, Dr. Weber and the staff at Good Samaritan quickly put her at ease.

“The hospital experience has changed a lot over that time and I did not know what to expect,” she said. “But I was pleased with how organized and efficient everyone at Good Samaritan was. Everyone knew their role, and the day I spent in the hospital went smoothly. At every point during my stay, the staff was friendly and they continually informed me about what was about to happen.”

Although it took her some time to find the right physician, Bellafiore said she is thankful to Dr. Weber and the staff at Catholic Health’s St. Catherine of Siena and Good Samaritan hospitals.

“Dr. Weber is a great listener, even on an occasional weekend when I needed to hear a calming voice. I cannot emphasize enough how important that was for me,” she said. “I also have to give thanks to so many at both hospitals who took such great care of me.”

To find a Catholic Health cardiologist near you call (866) MY-LI-DOC.

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