Patient Makes Cath Lab Naming Gift to Honor Cardiologist Dr. Jon Robken - Genesis Health System

Published on December 01, 2021

Patient Makes Cath Lab Naming Gift to Honor Cardiologist Jon Robken, M.D.

On the same day hearts were being joined by marriage, one heart would be mended by two cardiologists attending the wedding.

From their “shop talk,” call it “cath talk” if you will, Larry Colo’s life was going to be extended.

Sanjeev Puri, M.D. was discussing Colo’s difficult case with Jon Robken, M.D., at the wedding. They are colleagues with Cardiovascular Medicine, P.C.

“I had a blockage in a tight corner of the heart. I have had heart trouble since 1982,’’ Colo explained. “Dr. Puri was describing what I needed and Dr. Robken said, ‘I do these a lot … when does he want to have the procedure done? How about tomorrow?’’’

The response of “how about tomorrow?” would be considered as typical for Dr. Robken. He is known for spending many of his days performing cardiac catheterization procedures at Genesis Medical Center, East Rusholme Street. Dr. Robken specializes in interventional cardiology, performing a wide array of cardiac and peripheral procedures.

Dr. Robken waited only two days to get Colo in to open the blockage.

“He has saved my life twice now,’’ Colo said of Dr. Robken. “I thought I was going to have to live with it…hopefully I could.”

Colo, who is from Geneseo, Ill., has congestive heart failure and diabetes, placing him at higher risk for heart problems.

Now 83 years old, he has already survived triple bypass and numerous other cardiovascular procedures.

Colo credits Ed Coyne, M.D., also with Cardiovascular Medicine, P.C., with improving his heart’s ejection fraction; an important measure of pumping efficiency of a heart.

“When I started seeing him after Dr. Robken did my first procedure, Dr. Coyne got my heart from pumping at 23% to 55% after a year of treatment,’’ Colo said.

Jon Robken, M.D., performs a procedure in a Cath Lab at GMC-East Rusholme Street.

Jon Robken, M.D., performs a procedure in a Cath Lab at GMC-East Rusholme Street. One of the labs is being named in his honor, thanks to a gift from Geneseo, Illinois, patient.

Gift Will Recognize Dr. Robken

The Colos wanted to do something to recognize Dr. Robken. Colo and his wife, Norma, have made a significant gift to the Genesis Foundation to have a newly renovated cardiac catheterization suite named not for themselves, but for Dr. Robken.

“He spends his life there already. We wanted to recognize all he has done for us by naming the new room for him,’’ Larry Colo said. “We are happy to have the ability to help.’’

Dr. Robken is praised by patients and colleagues alike for his bedside demeanor and for his exceptional skills as an interventional cardiologist. He is an advocate of new technology, participation in clinical trials and using advanced procedures to benefit patients. He often cares for the most complex cardiovascular patients in the region.

“This gift from the Colos will allow Dr. Robken to continue using his vast knowledge and skills to save and extend lives with the latest technology,’’ said Doug Cropper, president and CEO, Genesis Health System. “More hearts will be healed because of the generosity of Larry and Norma.”

Dr. Robken said he spends so much time performing cardiac catheterization surgeries because he hasn’t found anything he likes doing more.

“People have told me I need to do something fun. I try to think about that and it’s like, ‘well, where do I want to be?’ This is where I want to be,’’ Dr. Robken explained recently when he was recognized for a Distinguished Physician Award by Genesis colleagues. “I don’t have something that I enjoy more than what I do here (at Genesis) every day.”

Colo has been successful in his work career by literally keeping trains on the rails. He worked as a train conductor on the Rock Island Line. When the railroad went out of business, Colo was encouraged by railroad friends to start a business repairing tracks and building new segments of track all over the Midwest.

“I had never done track work in my life. A lot of guys I worked with were telling me they needed a company to do it,’’ Colo said. “We ended up doing a lot of big projects before we sold that business and did well.’’

Giving Back

In between more cardiovascular procedures, Colo ventured in a totally new direction. Colo and a small group of investors built a 110 million gallons per year ethanol plant in Annawan.

“We were processing 45,000 bushels of corn per day,’’ Colo said. “We had it up to 130 million gallons per year by being more efficient.’’

The global agribusiness giant CHS bought the plant, which now produces 160 million gallons a year.

“We have done well and it is nice to be able to recognize Dr. Robken. I am still here because of him,’’ Colo said.

Gifts to the Genesis Foundation make a positive impact on the health of the region and help make it possible for Genesis Health System to provide the latest technology to benefit patients. To find out more about opportunities to give to the Genesis Foundation, call (563) 421-6865 or go to www.genesishealth.com/give.

Older couple posing for photo

Larry and Norma Colo of Geneseo, Illinois, have made a gift to the Genesis Foundation enabling a cath lab at GMC-East Rusholme Street to be named in honor of interventional cardiologist Jon Robken.

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