Hearts of Service | Alex Pamintuan
In many ways, Administrative Director Alex Pamintuan was the heart of the Cardiac Services department at Adventist Health Bakersfield.
His dedication to improving the Cath Lab – adding the latest and greatest technology – was palpable. His love of family, friends and community was inspirational. And those outfits-of-the-day? Snazzy and colorful, just like the engaging man who wore the fashionable ensembles.
So, on April 18, 2021, when Alex’s heart stopped beating, ours broke.
“It was devastating,” says Diwata “Dee” Somera, RN, MSN, CCRN-CMC, manager of the Cath Lab, ECHO Departments, Cardiac Rehab and Stress Lab, her voice cracking with emotion. “Alex was more than just our leader – he was our friend and he cared about everyone. He wanted to make a positive difference for our patients who need higher-level services.”
In fact, Alex often referred to the project as his “baby.” On Aug. 31, 2021 – dubbed “Alex Day” by the team the 55-year-old once led – that “baby” was born when the first Artis Q biplane procedure took place in Cath Lab 1. Additional diagnostic and emergent cases for neurology also will use the biplane system soon. The project’s next phase will add upgraded, single-plane X-ray technology.
“Even in these challenging times, Alex had a vision,” says Viral Y. Mehta, MD, FACC, FSCAI, the physician who performed the first biplane case: a successful coronary angiogram for a 47-year-old patient at Adventist Health Bakersfield. “Alex had this aura around him of amazing enthusiasm, positivity, hope, optimism and an unwavering faith that this project would always happen ... We were very blessed to have Alex and we wish he was still here … but God had different plans.”
The loss of such a dynamic and beloved leader still stings, and the tears of those closest to him still flow – but through those moist eyes, there is joy for the first celebration of “Alex Day.”
“Alex was a great leader and had so much passion for cardiac care and a passion to see it grow in the community – the opening of the biplane was a journey he took us on … he was with his team today,” says Misty Cantrell, the hospital’s operations executive.
And, in typical “Alex style,” there were even matching argyle socks for the special occasion!
“I’m sure he’s laughing,” says Dee, smiling at the thought of the Cath Lab team donning their stylish socks, given by Patient Care Executive Heather Van Housen in honor of Alex. “Alex is with us; he’s still taking care of us.”
Holding red heart-shaped balloons and wearing their matching Heart Institute jackets – which Alex ordered just before he passed away – the Cath Lab team gathered in prayer to kick-off “Alex Day.”
“We prayed a blessing and dedication of the new equipment and the updated Cath Lab as a way of living God’s love, and we recognized Alex’s vision,” says Tony Andrews, director of Mission & Spiritual Care.
Dr. Mehta added to that recognition for his dear friend and colleague – a diminutive man who made such a big impact.
“We still feel Alex’s energy with us, we always will – and the energy of this new program is just beginning.”
Like the start of a steady heartbeat.