The path to purpose: Ibrahim Fahsah, M.D., his story | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

The path to purpose: Ibrahim Fahsah, M.D., his story

One moment that set life in a different direction for Dr. Fahsah

Sometimes a single moment can change the course of your entire life. Ibrahim Fahsah, M.D., interventional cardiologist with Norton Heart & Vascular Institute, is aware of this every time he treats a patient who has had a heart attack. In his line of business, that’s almost every day.

Dr. Fahsah is the medical director of the Norton Hospital Cardiac Catheterization Program. He planned to have a very different career.

Originally from a small island off the coast of Syria, Dr. Fahsah grew up thinking he would become a fisherman. Then a quiet voice inside him told him to consider another career, so he pursued an undergraduate degree with plans to attend medical school. On a trip home for his older brother’s wedding, that whisper turned into a shout.

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It was the day before the wedding and everyone was preparing for the festivities. While showering, his brother, just 29 years old, suffered a massive heart attack that took his life.

“I was very close to my brother. It was a tragedy that shook our family,” Dr. Fahsah said. “He was so young, and I can remember thinking I have to do something about this. I have to become a doctor.”

Dr. Fahsah started his career in internal medicine and began a pulmonary and critical care medicine fellowship. After a few years, he decided to reconsider his specialty.

“I just had this feeling that I was not where I was supposed to be. I had this draw to cardiology that I couldn’t explain,” Dr. Fahsah said.

He went on to pursue additional training in cardiology and then interventional cardiology. Shortly after he began practicing his new specialty, he experienced a moment that served as confirmation.

Just as many cardiologists do, he received a call in the middle of the night about a patient en route to the hospital with a massive heart attack. He jumped out of bed and quickly got ready to head out. His wife observed how energetic he was even in the early morning hours, and he told her, “Of course I am filled with energy. I get a chance to try to save this person’s life. This is what I am meant to do.”


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Norton Heart & Vascular Institute specialists treat more people for heart and vascular care — about 250,000 every year — than any other provider in Louisville and Southern Indiana.

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