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Gardening instructor Harley Smith gives Sparrow's heart team an A-plus.

Mr. Smith, a plant biologist, was feeling great on the first night of his gardening class at a local store. But with only a few minutes left in the session, he became lightheaded and collapsed. He had gone into cardiac arrest. Luckily, two of his students had medical training and applied CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. EMTs quickly arrived and got him to Sparrow, where Dr. Eugene Choo, M.D., awaited his arrival.

The Eaton Rapids man, 54, gives much of the credit to Sparrow, now home to mid-Michigan's leading heart team. "I'm very thankful to the Sparrow team." Dr. Choo determined that Harley's electrolytes were low, causing the electrical impulses in his heart to malfunction. A defibrillator was installed to keep his heart at a regular pace.

The heart team at Sparrow understands the importance of involving patients in their care. And they work closely with patients after they leave. Smith continues to see Dr. Choo regularly, while maintaining a healthy exercise regimen with his wife, Sue, at the Michigan Athletic Club.

"Sparrow gave me a second chance," he says. And his life, and gardening, are thriving.