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Okemos resident Ida Stockman, 68, is not your typical Sparrow heart patient. She was diagnosed with coronary artery disease in her 30s, when it was fairly a new disease, and smoking was encouraged as a "healthy" habit. And, as a former college professor, Stockman said she led a very stressful professional life. "Many factors converged to give me heart disease at an early age," Stockman noted.

It was in June 2002 that she had her second quadruple bypass surgery but first experience at Sparrow. "All I can say is that I survived. I was in a critical state, and could have died," she said. Because Stockman has been living with heart disease for most of her adult life, she knows more than the average patient. Stockman didn't need the doctors or nurses to come explain her condition and procedure to her – but they did. "They were informative. I felt that I had access to very good care," Stockman said.

But the real reason Stockman said she has stayed with Sparrow for her continuing treatment is her Sparrow cardiologist, Dr. Eugene Choo. "I met him at Sparrow, and I will organize my life to stay near or around him," she said. "I believe he is the best, and I have talked to other people for whom he has cared, and they stated they owe him their lives."