Primary Care Patient David

David Johansen, 65, is more active than most people half his age. he says it's important to have a primary care doctor who understands and supports his lifestyle. Among other things, David enjoys long-distance bike rides and cross-country skiing. Recently, after a long bike ride, he had a concern about his heart. "Something just didn't seem right," remembers David. "I had never felt like that before."

A heart specialist at Virginia Mason found he had atrial flutter, an abnormality in the rhythm of his heart. Before making a decision about treatment, David talked to his long-time primary care physician. "He's good listener," says David,"and he always thoroughly reviews my history, explains clearly what he thinks is going on and what the best treatment options are." His primary care doctor referred him to a cardiologist who had experience with active patients like David. "It gave me confidence that the cardiologist would understand my activity level," says David, "and would get me back to doing the things I enjoy."

In August, David underwent an outpatient cardiac catheter ablation that addressed the electrical misfiring in his heart. The minimally invasive procedure was a success and four days later David was cleared to resume his normal activities. "My primary care doctor directed me to the right specialist who understood how important it was to me to stay active," says David. "I appreciate that he knows me well and I trust that whatever he recommends, it's going to be a good choice for who I am."

“Every time I go to Virginia Mason, I feel like everyone is working on my behalf to be sure I get the best care.”

David compares the work of his primary care doctor to that of the quarterback on a football team. "He navigates the maze of the medical system for me," says David, "and always makes the hand-off to the appropriate person. Every time I go to Virginia Mason, I feel like everyone is working on my behalf to be sure I get the best care."

In addition to enjoying outdoor activities, David and his wife, Patrice McDermott, stay involved with their two grandchildren and three adult sons who live in different states. David, a retired attorney, is also a trustee for a charitable foundation that provides scholarships to young people on their way to college. "I'm glad to be able to help them achieve their goals and I like being in touch with the younger generation. It helps keep me young."

Also keeping David young are his outdoor activities. With the help of his primary care physician at Virginia Mason, he plans to enjoy them for many years to come.