NewsLocal NewsCleveland Metro


Woman who credits UH doctor with saving life gets tattoo of his name on her arm

Posted at 2:21 PM, May 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-18 14:21:10-04

CLEVELAND — A woman whose doctor at University Hospitals made a positive mark on her life honored him in a permanent way with a tattoo of his name on her arm.

Kathleen Black’s journey to the office of Dr. Cristian Baeza started when she addressed her chest and back pains and frequent exhaustion. Her three brothers died in their 50s from massive heart attacks and at 55 years old, she knew she had to address the problem.

Terrified of undergoing surgery, she met Baeza, who comforted and reassured her that everything was going to be okay.

After successful aortic valve surgery, she credits him with saving her life.

“I told Dr. Baeza that when this was all over, I was going to get a tattoo for him. He discouraged me from that, but he’s my angel and I wanted to do something so I could always remember what he did for me,” said Black, whose son is a tattoo artist.

Kathleen Black and Dr. Cristian Baeza.

After she underwent aortic valve replacement surgery in February 2021 at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center and took time to recover, her son tattooed her heart rhythm and Baeza’s name on her arm.

Tattoo on Kathleen Black's arm.

“It’s been a joy to help repair Kathleen’s heart. She’s such a fun patient who loves life,” said Baeza in a news release. “We generally discourage our cardiac surgery patients from getting tattoos because of the risk of infection, but Kathleen insisted. It’s an honor that she feels so grateful to our team at UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute.”

Life after surgery for Black has been full of life. With granddaughters, she has the energy to play with them and participate in their lives.

Download the News 5 Cleveland app now for more stories from us, plus alerts on major news, the latest weather forecast, traffic information and much more. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.

You can also catch News 5 Cleveland on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, YouTube TV, DIRECTV NOW, Hulu Live and more. We're also on Amazon Alexa devices. Learn more about our streaming options here.