Interviewing his heart surgeon, Bill Friday used his own experience to educate others

October 16, 2012 -- Longtime University of North Carolina President Bill Friday, who died Oct. 12, was a friend of health care at UNC. In 2009, he used his own medical experiences at UNC to educate others.

Interviewing his heart surgeon, Bill Friday used his own experience to educate others click to enlarge Bill Friday interviewed Brett Sheridan, M.D., right, on "North Carolina People" in 2009; a couple of months earlier, Sheridan had replaced Friday's aortic valve.

In February 2009, President Friday had surgery at UNC Hospitals to replace his aortic valve. After his recovery, he returned to “North Carolina People,” the weekly UNC-TV interview show that he hosted for 41 years.

With his characteristic curiosity and enthusiasm, President Friday made his heart surgery a discussion topic on his TV show, inviting his surgeon, Brett Sheridan, M.D., to be a guest on the show.

Dr. Sheridan, director of adult cardiac surgery at UNC Hospitals, talked about treatment of heart problems and explained President Friday’s valve surgery. (In another broadcast, President Friday interviewed cardiologist Beth Rosenberg, M.D., of Chapel Hill Internal Medicine.)

"President Friday dealt with his aortic valve disease with the same curiosity, determination and character that he demonstrated time and time again in his excellent leadership of the UNC system," Dr. Sheridan said this week.

Dr. Sheridan enjoyed having President Friday as a patient. "We were all a little better for having been around him. We'll miss him dearly," he said.

To watch President Friday’s April 2009 interview with Dr. Sheridan, click here. You will need Flash player to view the video.

(Images and web link used by permission of UNC-TV.)

- Margaret Alford Cloud, UNC Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery