In June of 2009, my cardiologist advised me that my heart's mitral valve was failing and needed to be replaced. I searched for surgeons who performed minimally invasive heart surgery, and I discovered Dr. Richard Shemin at UCLA Medical Center. Not only did Dr. Shemin successfully perform the surgery, but he was also able to repair the valve instead of replacing it. This saved me from a lifetime of blood thinners. This was no easy surgery. My valve had nine flaps that needed to sewed together; Dr. Shemin advised me that nine was the maximum in a repair. The staff at the Medical Center was wonderful. The ICU nurses were very caring, and the volunteers helped me recover by taking me on walks. I live in Orange County, and traveling to UCLA Medical Center was well worth the trip.