Dr. Varghese participates in annual Rally for Medical Research in Washington, DC
Roy Varghese, MD, a Mary Breckinridge ARH physician and American Heart Association volunteer traveled this week to the nation’s capital to participate in the annual Rally for Medical Research on September 16-17.
This two-day event brought representatives from more than 300 national organizations and institutions to Washington, D.C. to call on Congress to invest in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – the largest source of funding for medical research in the world.
After more than 30 years of caring for patients in his Eastern Kentucky community, Dr. Varghese unexpectedly became a patient himself. Dr. Varghese had been suffering indigestion-like symptoms throughout a long day of caring for patients, when he made the decision to go to his local emergency room at Mary Breckinridge ARH Hospital in Hyden.
That decision saved his life as he was suffering from an acute inferior myocardial infarction, or heart attack. Shortly after his arrival in the ER, his condition worsened and he required an electric shock to restore normal heart rhythm. He was transferred to the Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center in Hazard for additional cardiac care, and eventually on to UK Chandler Medical Center, where he arrived on a ventilator and remained unconscious for more than a week.
Dr. Varghese continues his cardiac rehabilitation by walking three miles daily in his Hyden community where he returned to his practice. He also continues his passionate advocacy for heart disease research and prevention.
Dr. Varghese met with Representative Hal Rogers during the Capitol Hill day on September 17 to request that he make funding for the NIH a national priority and to thank him for his willingness to explore innovative ways to increase the NIH budget.
Cardiovascular disease is our country’s No. 1 and most costly killer, but currently, the NIH invests only four percent of its budget on heart research and one percent on stroke research. In addition, NIH has lost more than 20 percent of its purchasing power over the past decade due to medical research inflation. Without sufficient NIH funding, much-needed treatments and cures will continue to be seriously delayed – or worse, never discovered.
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke - America's No. 1 and No. 5 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or join us, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or any of our offices around the country, or visit heart.org.