Crediting USF Health cardiologist for saving his life, patient makes travel plans to see grandkids

After suffering his first heart attack 22 years ago, David Gilberg has endured more heart procedures than anyone could count on both hands. Fourteen in fact.  But today, the 72-year-old Minnesota native has a new lease on life, thanks to a procedure performed by cardiologist Bibhu Mohanty, MD, of the USF Health Department of Cardiovascular Sciences.

While the procedure to open a narrowed coronary artery in Gilberg’s heart was fairly routine as far as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) goes, the real magic occurred when he felt someone listened to his concerns at long last.

Gilberg spent his entire life farming dairy cattle in northern Minnesota.  A humble and spiritual man, Gilberg worked an area of the country that he termed as having “real, real cold weather.” After visiting Florida for years to escape the frigidity, he moved permanently to Sun City in 2013.  Solidifying the lifestyle change, Gilberg sold his farm last year.  “I had a hard time letting it go. When you’ve been a farmer all of your life, that soil is in your hands. It’s just something that is a part of you.”

Patient David Gilberg of Sun City Center with USF Health cardiologist Bibhu Mohanty, MD.

For more than a year, Gilberg dealt with a severe dysfunction, including shortness of breath.  At times Gilberg could hardly get from bed to bathroom. A quick trip to the grocery store was dreaded.

“I had to know exactly what I wanted and where it was,” he said.  I hurried through the aisles, sometimes having to sit down. After just a few minutes, I returned to the car out of breath and exhausted.”

Gilberg’s ongoing heart issues stemmed from heart disease on both sides of his family. Before seeing Dr. Mohanty, Gilberg took as many as 15 nitroglycerine pills daily. The pain in his arms and chest grew stronger every day.  When he complained to his cardiologist of five years, the doctor said he was fine.

In December, he’d finally had enough.  On a recommendation, he made an appointment with Dr. Mohanty for a second opinion.

When Gilberg met Dr. Mohanty in Sun City, he was concerned that the doctor would diagnose his problem and it would be the last time he saw him.

At the initial visit, the USF cardiologist wondered if one of the stents was possibly clogging up.

“From the beginning, Dr. Mohanty assured me he would be with me throughout my hospital stay.  He said he’d be right there and he was,” Gilberg said with a big smile.  “He came to my hospital room, checked in several times, and always had a very positive attitude.  His bedside manner is second to none. He is the nicest, most concerning fella.”

Not only is Dr. Mohanty’s bedside manner on point, “He saved my life!” said Gilberg, after Dr. Mohanty placed a 10th stent in his heart in January.  Just one month later, Gilberg is walking up to a mile and a half each day.

Dr. Mohanty speaks with Gilberg during an office follow-up visit.

“Being strictly adherent to an optimal medication regimen for coronary artery disease is critical,” Dr. Mohanty said. “When we met, his regimen was not optimal for his history, and we made some significant adjustments.”

With a new vigor, Gilberg is now making plans to visit Minnesota, and might even travel to Sweden to visit relatives in his homeland.  With a daughter, Jenny, in Sarasota and another, Molly, still in Minnesota, he has a lot of love and support.  Molly’s family will welcome their eighth child in July.  Gilberg now plans to visit them twice a year to celebrate his grandchildren’s birthdays.

Gilberg smiles big when he talks about visiting family in Minnesota, an adventure he never dreamed possible a couple of months ago.  “No matter where you go in this world, there is a place that’s home.  ‘Home’ sometimes is the things you have – what you bring with you that kind of makes it feel like home.  But home is always where you were born and raised. And home for me is Minnesota.”

Gilberg’s grandkids are a bright spot as well.   Prior to Hurricane Irma, they wanted to Facetime every day, and nervously asked him about impending Hurricane Irma.   “You know Papa,” 10-year old grandson George said at the time, “I want to see you a few more times — not just in heaven, so you have to take care of yourself and go to a shelter if the storm comes, ok?”

Thanks to Dr. Mohanty, Gilberg will be much more than a just a face on a phone screen. His grandkids will now be able to play with “Papa” in person for a long time.


Dr. Mohanty attended Duke University Medical School and also did his residency at Duke.  He completed three fellowships: Cardiovascular Disease at Mouth Sinai School of Medicine, Interventional Cardiology at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, and Structural Intervention at Dartmouth Medical School.

-Story and photos by Michelle Young, USF Health Communications and Marketing