Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network and the Christian Coalition, gave thanks to UNC-Chapel Hill’s medical school when he donated $500,000 after successful heart surgery.
The 2009 surgery at a Pinehurst hospital corrected Robertson’s atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat caused by faulty electrical signals in the heart. The surgery, called the Convergent Procedure, was developed by Dr. Andy Kiser, who is now chief of cardiothoracic surgery at UNC-CH.
The May donation was reported in the 2013 Carolina Development Annual Report, which featured a story about Robertson.
The minimally invasive procedure is helping to change the treatment of atrial fibrillation. Robertson learned of it from a friend who happened to be on a flight seated next to a medical device salesman who knew of Kiser’s work, according to the report.
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In Robertson’s case, the televangelist had suffered for years, trying medication and multiple procedures to shock his heart back into rhythm, the report said.
“It’s a terrible thing, when it comes upon you,” Robertson was quoted. “You’re very short of breath and it just saps the life out of you.”