November 06, 2023

A veteran’s healthcare journey

Across all Ardent hospitals, we are proud to care for those who have bravely served our country. In honor of Veterans Day, we highlight how one hospital has cared for a former member of the U.S. Marine Corps and his family.

David Zeferjohn, 88, has relied upon The University of Kansas Health System St. Francis Campus for care during major health events throughout his life.

Born at St. Francis Hospital in 1935, Zeferjohn took vocational printing in high school and became a map printer for the U.S. Marine Corps. While on leave from his tour of duty in Korea (he also served in Japan and twice in Vietnam), Zeferjohn met his wife Lottie back home in Topeka. After marrying and adopting two children, the Zeferjohns were stationed in Hawaii, where they made their home after retiring from the Marines.

Zeferjohn loved golf but eventually stopped playing when he became easily fatigued and dizzy leaning over to pick up his ball or replace a divot. It was at this time that he and Lottie moved back to Topeka and returned to the health system's St. Francis Campus for medical care.

Zeferjohn's providers diagnosed him with cardiac disease and recommended heart valve replacement surgery. After completing cardiac rehabilitation, he turned to the hospital for knee replacement surgery, followed by physical therapy.

Separately, when Zeferjohn experienced complications from blood-thinning medications, his cardiologist, Sumer Dhir, MD, recommended a procedure that would allow him to discontinue the medication while also reducing the risk of developing blood clots that could lead to a stroke or heart attack. Through a minimally invasive procedure, Dr. Dhir implanted the Watchman device into the upper left chamber of Zeferjohn's heart.

“Dr. Dhir is outstanding and has been taking care of me for several years,” said Zeferjohn. “He’s a good listener and makes good suggestions for me, as does the entire cardiology department.”

Zeferjohn says the health system has been integral to his family's health.

“We are very thankful for the care we have received at St. Francis Campus. From what we have observed, they take good care of everyone!”

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