California Heart Surgeon's Patient Is Doctor Who Delivered Him

PHOTO: Dr. Robert Kincade was delivered by Dr. Jim Affleck, on whom he later helped operate.Courtesy Sutter Health
Dr. Robert Kincade was delivered by Dr. Jim Affleck, on whom he later helped operate.

It was a near-full-circle moment for Dr. Jim Affleck, a retired obstetrician, when he went in for heart surgery last month at Sutter Memorial Hospital in Sacramento, California.

One of the doctors in the operating room with Affleck was Dr. Robert Kincade, a heart surgeon whom Affleck delivered 45 years ago.

Luckily for Affleck, he said, the uncanny coincidence was not a completely full-circle moment.

“We didn’t have to come full circle on this delivery-death thing,” Affleck, 84, told ABC News today, adding that he “feels like a new person” after having his aortic valve replaced.

Affleck spent 33 years as an obstetrician in the Sacramento area delivering thousands of babies -- so many that he says he lost count. So no one can blame him for not immediately recognizing that his patient was now his doctor.

“I was surprised because, as an obstetrician, your patient is the mother,” he said. “You just hand the baby off to the pediatrician and never see it again.”

Dr. Kincade is the medical director of the Sutter Transplant and Advanced Therapies Programs, located at Sutter Memorial Hospital, the same hospital where he was born and where Affleck practiced.

When Kincade realized the coincidence, he called the best source possible to confirm who delivered him: his mom, according to Affleck and the hospital. The doctor, who could not be reached today by ABC News because he was in surgery, then confirmed again via his birth certificate that Affleck was his doctor.

“I was surprised he would look at his birth certificate and remember that and his mother remembered it too,” Affleck said.

Affleck, who lives just outside Sacramento with his wife, Dona, and has three kids of his own, called his recovery from the heart surgery “marvelous.”

He had a chance to reunite with Kincade on Monday when he went back to the hospital for his final check-up.

“We’ve stayed in touch,” Affleck said. “The day after the surgery I got up and I could just tell that everything was different.”