Patient Says Thanks to Docs Who Gave Him Pep Talks, ‘Best Heart’
Mar 27, 2024
Gary Zavoral
Male patient making heart out of hands

Ian Brodie, then 34, gives a “heart” sign right before being wheeled into surgery for a heart transplant at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento. Brodie says his physicians and surgeons showed him a lot of heart during his medical journey.  

After surviving a Thanksgiving scare with his failing heart, Ian Brodie has a lot to be thankful for.

Brodie, then 34, was celebrating Thanksgiving 2019 with family while in Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, being treated for heart failure. Suddenly, his heart started racing, going into tachycardia, and began to feel like he was going to pass out. An emergency response team rushed into his room, ready to do whatever was needed to save his life.

Trio of doctors

Heart failure patient Ian Brodie was especially grateful for a trio of physicians who helped him and his family cope with his cardiac trials and eventually saved his life with a heart transplant. They are, from left, Dr. Zi Jian Xu, Dr. Gurpreet Sodhi and Dr. Robert Kincade.

He survived this tachycardia episode, but his heart was getting weaker, he was told.

Thankfully, Brodie was already in the right place. Sutter Medical Center has a world-class heart-failure program is the only heart transplant center in California’s Central Valley. He was outfitted with an Impella temporary heart pump to help keep him alive and received a new heart a couple of weeks later. He was home in time to celebrate the new year of 2020.

As National Doctors’ Day 2024 approached on March 30, Brodie wanted to say thanks to a trio of Sutter Medical Center heart-failure specialists – Drs. Robert Kincade, Zi Jian Xu and Gurpreet Sodhi – who checked in with him regularly, gave him updates, kept all his hospital visitors informed of his condition and next steps, and eventually were his life savers.

“I appreciate everything they do for everyone who has cardiac issues,” Brodie said. “I saw how demanding a profession they have. It takes away from their own lives in order to give life to so many people.”

With a new heart, Brodie has new life. Brodie, now 38, is working full-time, is in very good health, and he and his wife, Nicole, are looking forward to starting a family – a goal that was delayed due to his heart condition.

While in the hospital, Brodie was grateful for Dr. Xu’s daily visits and his willingness to answer his questions and those of his many family and friends who were visiting. Dr. Xu is the medical director of Sutter Medical Center’s acclaimed heart failure program.

Five smiling people celebrating 2024

Ian Brodie, standing right, celebrates New Year’s 2024 with his wife, Nicole, center, and friends in Las Vegas. The couple now hope to start a family.

“I had a friend or family member with me every day, and often different ones,” Brodie said. “Dr. Xu was never in a rush to answer any and all of their questions. It was really nice of him.”

When Brodie needed to be lifted emotionally, he always knew he could turn to Dr. Sodhi, who specializes in heart failure.

“Dr. Sodhi was always like my go-to when I needed a pep talk,” Brodie said. While in heart failure, he said, “many time situations for me were crappy. I’d see him in the hall and ask a nurse if he could come in and answer some questions. He’d always relay the answers in a way to make me feel better.”

Dr. Kincade, the surgical director of the heart transplant program, had a common bond with Brodie; both played high school and college football. Dr. Kincade kept an eye out for a heart that would be the right one from Brodie.

“Dr. Kincade kept telling me he was gonna get me the best heart,” Brodie said, pausing. ““And, I feel like I did get a good heart.”

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