Highline president undergoes open-heart surgery
By Jessica Strand - Staff Reporter
Highline President Dr. Jack Bermingham is recovering from open-heart surgery.
Dr. Bermingham was feeling unwell in the days prior to the holidays and sought medical attention.
"Dr. Bermingham … decided to go to his local hospital emergency room," said Dr. Patti Rosendahl, chief of staff for the president's office. "A series of tests were conducted to determine what the underlying issues might be, which took several days."
Once determining that surgery was required, his doctors created a plan for going forward.
"We understand that the initial plan was to replace a stent which was part of a procedure that was performed on Dr. Bermingham many years ago," Dr. Rosendahl said. "The surgical team revised their plan, and open-heart surgery was then performed."
While Dr. Bermingham is recovering, Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Jeff Wagnitz is stepping into his shoes as acting president.
"So far, with winter break, it's been do-able to find time for both roles," Dr. Wagnitz said.
With the Winter Quarter underway, it has required a little more juggling, Dr. Wagnitz said. But many staff members have been a great support and have picked up the slack, including Dr. Rosendahl, executive staff members and Academic Affairs staff members, he said.
"Though the timing was out of his control, Jack couldn't have picked a less-impactful time to be out," he said.
Dr. Bermingham is recovering at home with family.
"Dr. Bermingham continues to improve and gain strength," Dr. Rosendahl said. "On a personal note, he has certainly not lost his sense of humor."
"I expect Jack to be back soon, and I see my job as keeping things moving, to the best of my ability, in the same direction that he'd set," Dr. Wagnitz said.
It is too early for a projected return date since every individual recovers from major surgeries at their own rate, Dr. Rosendahl said.