McLaren Flint Patient’s Heart Grows Stronger in More Ways Than One

Open Heart Bypass Surgery Has Lapeer Patient Back to What He Loves to Do

Author: Sherry Farney

Every year for 35 years, Ed Walker, 68, of Lapeer, a now retired teacher, used to read “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” to his students on their last day before holiday break. He read the book to remind them what Christmas is all about: the spirit of the season and gift giving should come straight from the heart and true love does not come with a price tag.

This holiday season, Walker really wanted to give something of himself to the employees at McLaren Flint and he thought the best way to do that was through sharing the story of his incredible experience as a patient. He’s feeling well and doing what he did before his surgery, including taking care of his beloved horses Misty and Chance.

Last summer, after a visit to his primary care physician due to some unusual symptoms he was having, Walker found out from his doctor that he had an irregular heartbeat and was referred to a cardiologist. He went through tests and evaluations of whether medication could address his cardiac issues. It was decided that he needed an open-heart double bypass surgery. On Aug. 31, 2021, Omar Habib, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon, performed the surgery at McLaren Flint.

“Percutaneous intervention (using catheters) with stents is not always the best treatment for patients with coronary artery disease,” said Dr. Habib .“Open-heart surgery is still considered the ‘gold standard’ for heart conditions like Ed’s. It actually improves survival and quality of life. I am pleased to see that Ed is doing so well.”

During a double bypass procedure, blood vessels are taken from another area of the body, typically the leg, and grafted onto the existing heart vessel to reroute blood flow around the heart blockage. The rerouted blood vessel makes it possible for the heart muscle to receive the blood it needs and helps prevent heart damage.

“After my surgery, I spent my recovery time at McLaren Flint in the critical care unit (CCU) and then on the 12th floor,” said Walker. “The humor they shared with me and the healing after bypass surgery they bestowed upon me during my stay lasts until this day. I am healing well and hold every person who cared for me on those two floors close to my heart. From support staff, to doctors, nurses, food service, and housekeeping, they were all wonderful. Dr. Habib, his staff, and the fine people on those units are incredible individuals.

“It is my firm belief that angels walk this earth, have donned the McLaren hospital uniform, and work on the CCU and 12th floor. I am beyond grateful for the care I received at McLaren Flint. My heart became stronger physically, but also emotionally - maybe like the Grinch’s heart. It grew three sizes while I was a patient, and that’s because of the wonderful people working there.”

To learn more about the comprehensive heart care offered at McLaren Flint, visit