Cohoes man still grateful for life-saving Albany Medical Center cardiac care 15 years later

Charles "Chuck" Fitzgerald

At 79, Charles “Chuck” Fitzgerald, of Cohoes, still leads an active lifestyle and even hiked to one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. But none of that would have been possible without the expert, compassionate care he received at Albany Medical Center 15 years ago following an unexpected cardiac issue.

In early July 2005, after walking his dog before work, Fitzgerald started experiencing chest pains. He continued with his morning routine, attributing it to peptic ulcers he previously experienced. At work, the pains subsided. But when it returned the following morning, he decided to seek medical attention at a local hospital emergency department. After admitting him and running some tests, doctors transferred him to Albany Medical Center.

There, his doctor told Fitzgerald he was “lucky to be alive” and informed him that he was scheduled to undergo a triple-bypass heart procedure early the following morning.

Fitzgerald spent the next week recovering at Albany Medical Center, describing the cardiac care he received as “tremendous.” Upon discharge, he spent a week recovering at his sister’s home before eventually returning to work a few months later.

These days, his walking companion is Dakota, a 6-year-old golden retriever he rescued from an animal shelter. But Fitzgerald’s exercise routine no longer is limited to walking. He’s recently taken up Chinese martial arts to broaden his active lifestyle. Still, he knows he’ll never be mistaken for his other, more famous namesake.

“Believe me, I’m no Chuck Norris!” he chuckled.

Two years ago, Fitzgerald and his daughter also shared the trip of a lifetime by hiking to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru. He described the site, located more than 7,000 feet above sea level in the Andes Mountains, as “breathtaking” and “absolutely beautiful.”