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Ben Taylor: Avid Fisherman Supports Cardiology

Photo of Ben Taylor (left), with his trout and guide in Alberta, Canada, says he was “born to fish.”.From angling for tarpon in the Florida Keys to chasing Chinook salmon in Alaska and rainbow trout in New Zealand, Ben Taylor has been around the world with his fly rod.

Fishing landed Taylor in Northern California and inspired many of his friendships. Also a keen traveler, golfer, and writer, he was not about to let heart problems—beginning with an aortic valve replacement in 2002—slow him down. But then he got hit with atrial fibrillation, or A-fib, the most common cardiac arrhythmia worldwide and a frequent complication of heart valve replacement.

While not life-threatening, A-fib causes rapid and irregular heartbeat, sweating, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Following a conversation about his condition, a mutual friend offered to put Taylor in touch with cardiologist William Grossman, MD, director of the Center for Prevention of Heart and Vascular Disease at UCSF and the Charles and Helen Schwab Endowed Chair in Preventive Cardiology.

“A few days later, Dr. Bill called me,” Taylor says. After a visit to Dr. Grossman and several tests and medications, Taylor’s heart was back in sync.

A Massachusetts native, Taylor started a sales career in New York City then moved into banking. When an opportunity to take a position in San Francisco eventually presented itself, he jumped. Why?

“Well, for the fishing, of course!” Taylor says.

Since his A-fib returned recently, Taylor has been under the joint care of Grossman and Edward Gerstenfeld, MD, chief of UCSF’s Cardiac Electrophysiology and Arrhythmia Service and the Melvin M. Scheinman Endowed Chair in Cardiology. Taylor was relieved when Gerstenfeld performed a simple procedure to adjust his pacemaker via computer and thus establish a regular rhythm.

In 2013 Taylor established a charitable gift annuity, which pays him income now and will eventually benefit the UCSF Division of Cardiology in recognition of the excellent care he has received.

“My experience as a patient at UCSF has been exceptional,” Taylor says. “I’m glad I could afford to give.”


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