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New York (dpa) - While former U.S. president Bill Clinton was recovering from quadruple bypass heart surgery, a rash of New Yorkers swamped doctors' offices with calls of "Clinton symptoms," news reports said Wednesday.
Some cardiologists told the New York Daily News that there was a 50-per-cent increase in calls by worried patients since Clinton underwent a lifesaving operation at the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital on Monday.
"I had a phone call from a woman saying, 'I'm having Bill Clinton symptoms, can I come in for an appointment,'" said Dr. Nieca Goldberg, who is chief of women's cardiac care at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan.
Goldberg said her office phones began ringing before she came in to work.
"He's good for business, that's for sure," said Dr. Robert Zaloom, a cardiologist at the Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn. The center reported a spike of 30 per cent in phone calls.
At Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan, the number of phone calls doubled, with people wondering whether they may have heart problems similar to that of Clinton.
"All of a sudden, they've decided to pay attention to their health," said Dr. Harvey Hecht.
Seizing the opportunity, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined medical professionals by warning New Yorkers not to neglect their health problems.
"It's a good lesson for all of us," Bloomberg said. "You should watch what you eat, pay attention, and most importantly, get a good physical every year or two."
Clinton was still confined in an intensive care unit at the Presbyterian Hospital. Clinton, 58, was reported improving from his successful surgery and sipping liquids. Doctors at the hospital said it would take a few months before he would resume normal daily activities.
Clinton was admitted to hospital late last week after complaining of chest pain and shortage of breath while resting at his home at Chappaqua, in upstate New York. Tests at a hospital near his home showed blockage in four coronary arteries.
Copyright 2004 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH