Lifespan Cardiovascular Institute

A Heartfelt Thank You from a Grateful Family Is the Frosting on the Cake

A sweet tradition to honor the lifesaving surgery that saved her father is now 15 years in the baking.

In 2006, Audra Lalli’s father, Michael, then 65 years old, needed quadruple coronary artery bypass surgery. Under the care and precision of James G. Fingleton, MD, now chief of clinical cardiac surgery operations and quality at the Lifespan Cardiovascular Institute, the surgery at The Miriam Hospital was a success. Every year since, Michael, now 80, and Audra mix their gratitude into a heart-themed baked good they prepare in her Newport establishment, the Mad Hatter Bakery. "It's just such a small thing we can do to say thank you for saving our dad,” Audra said. “I just want (Dr. Fingleton) to know we haven't forgotten all that he did for us."

Michael and Audra Lalli

Baked from the Heart with Thanks

For 15 years, a Newport family that didn't want their dad's doctor to think they forgot what he did for them, has been baking a sweet tradition to say thank you. 

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Dr. Fingleton has 28 years of experience and continues to perform surgery to provide patients with the opportunity to continue living fulfilling lives. He is now at Rhode Island Hospital and an assistant professor of surgery (clinical) in the division of cardiothoracic surgery at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He appreciates the annual cake tradition. "It means a lot to me, for us, it makes us feel good because really that's all we want, that's why we do this.”

And every July 20, the anniversary of his surgery, Michael delivers his heartfelt appreciation in person.