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Dr. Mansha Kahloon, a cardiologist at St. Claire Regional Medical Center, carefully performs a heart catheterization on a patient. He routinely performs three to five procedures in a day.

Heart of the matter

story by Mira Laing

It's late on a Tuesday afternoon and Dr. Mansha Kahloon sits in his office at St. Claire Regional Medical Center talking softly into his digital voice recorder. Sensing a break in his busy cardiology schedule, he heads out the hospital's back entrance to the adjacent guest-residence building. Using his key to unlock one of the first-floor apartments, he steps inside, removes his black sneakers and washes his hands in the small kitchen sink. Then Mansha walks to the middle of the empty room, faces east and bows his head to pray.

The apartment isn't a living quarters at all, but rather a mosque. The hospital set aside the space in 2003 for the growing population of its Muslim doctors, as well as faculty and students at nearby Morehead State University. But while the hospital has been more than accommodating, being Muslim in Kentucky in 2017 has its challenges.

"The only problem is people don't know you, and they know [Muslims] on the TV," said Mansha. "That's the problem. Everyone here you see at the hospital, they have no problem and are very supportive and very helpful."

Born in Pakistan, Mansha came to the United States in 1996 and worked in hospitals in New York City for seven years. In 2003, he moved with his wife, Fahmida, and their five children to Lexington to be closer to Fahmida's family. She hints that she sometimes feels the cultural divide but chooses to keep a positive outlook.

"Fear is not something that is good for you," she says. "I don't find any point of fearing anybody other than God. You know, what is the point? God plans everything for you, right?"

Mansha's work days are jam-packed, with the busiest ones spent in the operating room performing heart catheterizations – procedures that thread light pipes through patients' veins into their hearts. Mansha spends hours in the cath lab, often performing three to five procedures in a day. On quieter days, he is primarily in the hospital's adjacent clinic seeing patients.

Though the days can be long, the hard work is always redeemed by his knowledge of the good he is doing for his patients. The support of his family and faith provides a firm foundation.

 

 

 

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Dr. Mansha Kahloon prays in the mosque in between treating patients at St. Claire Regional Medical Center. The mosque, located in the hospital's guest residence building, was established in 2003 and serves as a space for Muslim members of the hospital staff as well as Morehead State University faculty and students.

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Dr. Mansha Kahloon, a cardiologist at St. Claire Regional Medical Center, breaks out his stethoscope to check up on John Barnes, one of his heart patients.

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Dr. Mansha Kahloon, a cardiologist at St. Claire Regional Medical Center, watches his son, Hassan, throws a football to his brother in the living room of their home in Lexington. Kahloon works busy days treating heart patients, but is sure to make family time and relax at home.

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Mansha Kahloon laughs as his son, Hassan, tries on a Doland Trump mask at Lexington's Halloween Express. Mansha works long days as a cardiologist at St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead, with the busiest ones spent in the operating room performing heart catheterizations – a procedure that looks at how well a patient’s heart is working. Mansha spends hours in the cath lab, often performing three to five procedures in a day. On quieter days, he is primarily in the hospital’s adjacent clinic seeing patients. As a devout Muslim, he still incorporates prayets and his faith into his busy days. Though the days can be long, the hard work is always redeemed in the leftover time he spends with family and cultivating their faith.

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Dr. Mansha Kahloon, a cardiologist at St. Claire Regional Medical Center, prays after sundown with his wife, Fahmida, and two of their five of their children at their home in Lexington.

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Dr. Mansha Kahloon, a cardiologist at St. Claire Regional Medical Center, walks briskly through the hospital halls en route to his next appointment. His schedule differs daily, but there is little downtime as he checks up on emergency room patients, reads cath scans and performs heart catheterization procedures to uncover any underlying heart issues.

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Dr. Mansha Kahloon, a cardiologist at St. Claire Regional Medical Center, gets help putting on his gloves before performing a heart catheterization on a patient. The procedure is done to examine how well the heart is working and reveal any underlying complications.

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Dr. Mansha Kahloon, a cardiologist at St. Claire Regional Medical Center, puts away the dishes after eating breakfast. He is on call for t24hours at a time for a few days each month, so he spends these days alone at one of his homes in Morehead. All other nights of the month he is at his main home in Lexington with his wife, Fahmida, and three of their five of their children.

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Dr. Mansha Kahloon, a cardiologist at St. Claire Regional Medical Center, reads from the Quran after his morning prayers. As a devout Muslim, he prays five times a day – sometimes while at home and other times during his busy days at the hospital.

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