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Tony K.'s Story

Tony K.'s Story

Tony K., a gall bladder surgery patient and musician at Newton Medical Center.

For the third year in a row, local musician Tony K., 62, and the enticingly named Snake Oil Willie Band were lined up to play at the Wine & Roses fundraiser, on May 16, 2019. 

At this benefit held jointly for Newton and Hackettstown medical centers, attendees could count on their classic rock and roll to fill the dance floor at every set. But Tony almost did not make it there.  “Several days before, I was in such pain,” he says. “My wife, Janet, and I headed to the Emergency Department at Newton Medical Center.” 

Having lived in the area for over six decades, the Kemah Lake resident had learned to trust Atlantic Health System hospitals. Years ago, for example, after a run-in with a deer – while on his motorcycle – he spent a week in the ICU at Morristown Medical Center. “It helped that I had on a good helmet,” he laughs. “And the care was the best.” 

On Memorial Day, back pain sent him to Newton’s Emergency Department. “I’d known the nurses there a long time. They’d come to see us play.” Again, his care was outstanding, he says. During his recent visit, his physician quickly found Tony needed surgery to remove his gallbladder. “The fundraiser was just two days away,” Tony says. As performers know, the show must go on. “And the way they took care of me, it did.” 

Newton Medical Center surgeon Shomaf Nakhjo, DO, and the surgical team used their skills and experience to perform the surgery through laparoscopy, using tiny tools and small incisions, instead of traditional “open” surgery. 

After a couple of days recovering at home and with his bandmates’ help with his equipment, Tony and the band rocked the stage during the benefit performance. “I love ’em all,” he says of his caregivers at Newton. “You can tell that they’re at their jobs because they want to be there. They make me feel fortunate we live in this area.” 

This annual fundraiser brings together the region’s finest culinary delights and the world’s best-tasting wines and spirits. Each year's event includes a visit from a celebrity guest or chef.