"Dr. Argenziano and Patrick Spencer"

Would it surprise you to hear that over one-third of adults in Sullivan County have high blood pressure? What about the fact that Sullivan County is above the state and national averages for adults diagnosed with coronary heart disease, or that heart disease is the second-leading cause of death?

If these statistics made your eyes widen, they should. But we aren’t sharing this to raise your blood pressure. Rather, it’s to highlight a specific need right here in Sullivan County and how one health system—Garnet Health—is committed to improving these statistics and outcomes for our community.

Your heart is the hardest working muscle in your body. And when it’s not working effectively, you should be surrounded by a team working just has hard to diagnose and treat the problem. Garnet Health Medical Center’s Peter Frommer, MD Heart Center has experienced cardiologists, specialists and advanced technologies to help diagnose, treat and rehabilitate residents of Sullivan and Orange counties who are in need of advanced heart care. 

Until recently, residents in need of open-heart surgery were forced to travel a good distance for the lifesaving procedure. And for one resident, it truly was a life-altering decision.

Patrick Spencer has lived in Orange County with his wife for 30 years. On his 71st birthday, he was told he needed bypass surgery to remove blockages in his heart—but that the lifesaving surgery he needed would have to be done in New York City. The stress of traveling and being so far from home was overwhelming for Patrick and his wife. So much so, he considered not having the surgery at all.

But at the same time Patrick was facing this decision, Garnet Health was launching its open-heart surgery program, led by one of New York Magazine's Top Doctors, Medical Director Michael Argenziano, MD, FACS, who also serves as associate chief of the Division of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

“I was the first open-heart surgery patient in Orange County at Garnet Health,” Patrick says. “The nightmares that I had about going into New York City, the worry of my wife getting to and from the hospital safely—it was too much. But at Garnet Health, it was so much easier. My wife was 15 minutes away. I could focus on me, on my surgery and getting well.”

Garnet Health is proud to fill a vital need in Sullivan County and provide world-class care so close to home. “We need this,” Patrick adds. “Garnet Health has brought expertise up here to serve the people in this area. Believe me, I did my homework, and there’s nowhere else I would’ve gone but to Dr. Argenziano and Garnet Health. They strive for excellence and went above and beyond to take care of me and my heart.”

If you are having issues with your heart, please see your cardiologist right away. If you don’t have a cardiologist, Garnet Health can help you find one. Call Garnet Health Doctors at (845) 333-8909.

You can view Patrick’s story, and learn more about cardiac care, Dr. Argenziano and the open-heart surgery program at Garnet Health by visiting


Mary Kate Donohue, BSN, RN
By Mary Kate Donohue, BSN, RN
Administrator, Cardiology Services, Garnet Health

Mary Kate Donohue, BSN, RN, is the Administrator of Cardiology Services at Garnet Health.  She oversees the Cardiac Surgery Program, the Cardiac Cath Lab, and the Diagnostic Cardiology and Cardiac Rehabilitation departments at both our Middletown and Harris Campuses.  She has been in this role for eight years, prior to which she was the Telemetry Tech Supervisor and an inpatient nurse on our Progressive Care Unit.  Mary Kate received her Bachelors in Nursing from Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, New York.  She can be reached at (845) 333-1997 or

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