Whether you need surgery, medication, therapy or a combination of services, Summa Cardiovascular Institute can help navigate this journey. Let our patients, in their own words, tell you about the difference Summa made for them.

Sidney Dambrot


When Coach Keith Dambrot - Head Basketball Coach at the University of Akron - heard that his dad wasn’t breathing, it was the worst possible news. Sidney had suffered Sudden Cardiac Arrest and only had a 2% chance of survival.

Let Keith tell you the story in his own words…

“It’s amazing when you’re 52 years old like I am now and what goes through your mind and what you remember about your dad… I think about everything my mom and dad did for me throughout my life and I can’t tell you how many times I think about how my dad was with me.”

The entire team at Summa Cardiovascular Institute was there for the Dambrots, and now Sid is back to playing basketball at 80 years of age

“I couldn’t believe that the nurses, how patient they were with people and how they had a calming effect for people that were upset because their families were in such grave condition. It just, I hadn’t been around a lot of hospital situations so I really didn’t know what to expect and I was just really amazed by it all.”

“I think they probably do a better job of working under quick and changing conditions more than any group I’ve ever seen. And that’s kind of what I do for a living. I have to adjust to the game. And their game means a lot more than my game and they’re adjusting constantly. Well, we have to do this. You have the cardiac doctor talking to the intensive care doctor and the nurse. And then the neurologist involved and they’re mixing medicines. I’ve never seen a team operate like that and under such dire conditions as those. And everybody basically keeping their composure, which, you know, you’ve got people that need you to keep your composure and they just do an unbelievable job of that.”

“My dad was in the hospital for 28 days. The transitions that we made along the way from ER to CCU to step down and rehab, I thought it was all one place. I didn’t realize that these were actually separate units. I thought they coordinated very well together. “

“When my dad got sick it was a shock. I didn’t expect it in the least because in some ways I thought he was in better shape than I was. And even though he was older, I really didn’t think that this would happen to him. And so when it happened, I was totally surprised by it.”

“We’re just very, very lucky and I’m just so happy that we were in a hospital like Summa and had the care that we had. It’s truly a miracle.”

Bernie Hovey


Don’t ignore the warning signs of a heart attack. Bernie Hovey hoped he would never hear these words: “Mr. Hovey, you’re having a heart attack.” Unfortunately, Bernie heard these words and later realized that while the signs were there, they were easy to ignore, something he urges others not to do.

Bernie’s day started out wonderfully. He had his twin granddaughters and was busy holding them, and walking them around the nearby lake. He knew that the tingling in his arms after he held them wasn’t normal, and he knew the shortness of his breath that occurred during his walk was odd. Bernie consciously knew that these signs could be symptoms of a heart attack but didn’t think it could happen to him. The next morning he woke up feeling ill. Halfway through his day teaching at Archbishop Hoban High School, Bernie decided to go to his primary care physician who sent him to Summa Western Reserve Hospital for an EKG. It was at this point that Bernie came to the realization that his biggest fear was true: He was having a heart attack.

Bernie was taken to Summa Akron City Hospital by ambulance where he was rushed to the catheterization lab. Dr. Kenneth E. Berkovitz, the system medical director at Summa Cardiovascular Institute, diagnosed Bernie with a completely blocked right coronary artery. Dr. Berkovitz placed two stents to open the artery. (A third stent was added to another artery about two weeks later.) Bernie describes his care at Summa Akron City Hospital as “first rate; I felt like I was the only person in the hospital.” Bernie is now back to teaching at Archbishop Hoban High School, serving as the mayor of Silver Lake and staying active with his wife.

Tim Smith


When you exercise regularly and watch what you eat, you don’t expect to develop heart disease.

But that’s just what happened to Tim Smith. He had decided to start running again, but was concerned about some shortness of breath he had noticed. Tim went to his family doctor for a checkup. After an EKG indicated some abnormalities, Tim’s doctor suggested he get a cardiac stress test.

Since he lived in Kent, Tim scheduled his test at Robinson Memorial Hospital, an affiliate of Summa Health System.

That test showed abnormalities, too.

The cardiologist told Tim he needed to have a heart catheterization performed as soon as possible. One of the nurses was particularly insistent, he remembers.

“She actually walked out to the lobby with me, grabbed my elbow and said ‘you really have to get this done this week,’” said Tim.

Thanks to her urging, Tim agreed to see a cardiologist at Summa Akron City Hospital later that week who immediately scheduled the catheterization.

“During the catheterization, we found out that I was not just a time bomb walking around – I was a lit fuse,” said Tim. “I had 95 percent of my left main artery blocked, which was going to kill me. It’s commonly referred to as the ‘widow maker.’ I could not have made it much longer based on the condition I was in.” Tim was whisked directly from the cath lab to the operating room, where a Summa cardiothoracic surgeon performed a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG).

“I was perfectly comfortable with being at Summa because I knew the reputation was great,” Tim said. “I don’t think there’s any place where I could have gotten better care. We went from the discovery of the blockage to 45 minutes or so later being in surgery. That process was amazing.”

“I went into rehab really early…I started driving early,” said Tim, “I attribute it all to getting really good care from nurses that cared. They cared about me as a person.”

Today, Tim feels great and is extremely thankful for his Summa experience. “I’m vertical – and that feels really good.”

Dave Stephens


As the regional administrative director of cardiac services, Dave Stephens works daily with cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, nurses and technicians at Summa Barberton Hospital and Summa Wadsworth-Rittman Hospital. Although he was exhausted by 7 or 8 p.m. every evening, Stephens attributed it to long hours at work rather than a symptom of a heart problem.

Finally, he agreed to a nuclear stress test. Based on the results, he was sent immediately to the cath lab where doctors discovered a completely blocked coronary artery. They inserted cardiac stents, small mesh-like devices that act as supports keeping the artery open. Blood could then freely flow through Stephen’s artery to his heart muscle.

“I was scared to death,” said Stephens. “But I knew the physicians and cath lab staff were the best in the area.  

The outstanding team of Summa Cardiovascular Institute heart experts at Summa Barberton Hospital is available to you, whether you need testing or open-heart surgery. With our comprehensive cardiovascular services, advanced technology and a convenient location, you can eliminate the frustrating drive to larger cities for care. It is all right here.  

Today, Dave is doing well and enjoying spending time with his new granddaughter.

Download our guide and learn more

Date of Birth