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From Pew To ICU, Rockland Priests Share Remarkable Bond

Longtime friends Father Michael Keane and Father Jack Arlotta both experienced severe blockages of their hearts, just weeks apart.
Longtime friends Father Michael Keane and Father Jack Arlotta both experienced severe blockages of their hearts, just weeks apart. Photo Credit: Westchester Medical Center

ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. -- Having a close friend require a quadruple bypass surgery isn't an everyday occurrence. But for Father Michael Keane, watching a friend and fellow priest go through the procedure just weeks before unexpectedly needing the exact same treatment himself, it all seemed like more than just a coincidence.

Keane, 55, and Father Jack Arlotta, 66, are both Catholic priests in Orange County, and have been friends for nearly 30 years. "We lived on the same hall during seminary school in Yonkers, and I served Mike’s first mass when he was ordained in 1990, two years before I was ordained,” said Arlotta. “Being ordained is a special moment, and you ask your friends to help serve mass, like grown-up altar boys.” After beginning their ministries in the Archdiocese of New York, the two stayed close friends.

When Arlotta learned he needed bypass surgery during a routine follow-up test last March, he immediately sought the help of Dr. Chirag Badami and Dr. Bruce Toporoff at Good Samaritan Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network in Rockland County. "There were four blockages in coronary arteries that required four bypasses, and the surgery was completed with two arterial grafts, two vein grafts and special plating,” said Badami.

After successfully undergoing the surgery in early October, Arlotta was recuperating when his longtime friend paid him a visit. "When I went to visit Jack the day after his bypass surgery, we like to say he gave it to me,” said Keane. Less than two weeks after the visit, Keane was rushed to the hospital with 75 percent blockage of his heart, and underwent the exact same procedure Arlotta had experienced just days earlier.

To hear Father Keane and Father Arlotta's recovery stories, read more via Advancing Care in the Hudson Valley.

Daily Voice produced this article as part of a paid Content Partnership with our advertiser, Westchester Medical Center

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