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Doctor who helped pave way for heart surgery in Longview dies

By Reese Gordon rgordon@news-journal.com
June 3, 2014 at 10 p.m.


Longview cardiovascular surgeon David Lee Sadler, a pioneer of Longview's first heart surgery program at Good Shepherd Medical Center in 1987, died Monday.

Sadler, 65, partnered with fellow cardiovascular surgeon Jay Chastain to perform thousands of heart surgeries during the past 26 years.

Chastain said Tuesday that his business partner and friend will be greatly missed.

"Dr. Sadler often referred to me as his brother," he said. "He was extremely loyal. Once he became your friend and made a commitment to you, he was there. He was that way with his patients.

"The kind of guy you wanted to go to if you had a very serious situation. He just would not quit. He made me a better doctor and better man in general."

Chastain said when he and Sadler first met in Longview in 1987, they sat down and discussed the plan for the innovative heart program.

"We got to know one another and felt like in that meeting that we could work together," he said.

When Sadler needed open heart surgery 20 years ago, Chastain said he performed the operation.

"He got through major surgery and went on to perform thousands of surgeries," Chastain said. "He was just a hard-nosed guy when getting the job done. If he told you he was going to do something, he was going to do it."

When not caring for his patients, Sadler devoted time to the restoration of the historic Bramlette House in Longview, which he owned.

Morgan McWhorter, owner of Alpine Barber Shop, said Tuesday that he was Sadler's barber for 26 years.

"It was always a pleasure to cut his hair," McWhorter said. "You could talk to him about any subject."

McWhorter said he was "very fond" of Sadler.

"He was my doctor and he was always able to help me," he said. "He was not only a great doctor but a great friend."

Sadler's funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at First Baptist Church in Longview.

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