Resident Spotlight – Cy Vaughn

When Cy Vaughn graduated from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in 1958, he didn’t know his career as a surgeon was about to forever change his life. As some people grow older, they wish they had done more with their life. Cy couldn’t have led a more fulfilling life, a life many people only dream of.

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Four years after graduating from medical school with honors, Cy moved to Phoenix as Assistant Chief of Surgery at the Phoenix Indian Medical Center. Following two years in private practice in general surgery in Phoenix, he further specialized by doing a two-year residency in cardiac, thoracic and vascular surgery at the University of Utah, and became certified by the American Board of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery.

During his residency, Christian Barnard did the first human heart transplant in South Africa, and that event stimulated Cy’s interest in cardiac replacement. In 1985, he stunned the world by doing the first ever implant of an artificial heart as treatment for heart transplant rejection. This operation was chronicled in the national and international press. Known as “The Phoenix Heart,” it validated the use of the artificial heart as a bridge to transplantation and helped shape the future of cardiac replacement.

Cy performed thousands of heart, lung, and vascular operations and retired in 2000. When asked if he misses it, he says, “I don’t miss doing the heart operations, but I really miss my patients, office staff and all the incredible nurses and technicians that helped me through all those years.”

Cy’s writing career began with his first published novel, “The Phoenix Heart,” the story of his first artificial heart implantation at the University of Arizona to treat heart transplant rejection. He continued his passion of writing when, after eight years of research, he published his second novel, “Depot Dora.” It is the story of an Austrian Patriot, facing a Nazi firing squad, who escapes and returns to his native village as a covert agent to save the Mona Lisa from destruction by the Nazi Regime.

Cy’s next adventure was pitching “Depot Dora” to Hollywood movie producers. Voyage Media Hollywood is now adapting the novel as a feature film. Both novels are available on
When asked what is the most precious thing in life, he smiles and answers “Kaye,” his wife of five years. Kaye and Cy both lost their spouses after having been their caretakers for many years. Cy credits Kaye for “saving his life” after the loss of his first wife.

After looking at several others, Cy and Kaye decided that Sagewood was their best choice for a retirement community. They are both very involved at Sagewood. He is Sagewood’s trumpeter and plays at all the military holidays. She is a member of the Acacia Health Center Committee.

Cy’s favorite thing to do at the community? “Well, living at Sagewood is like a cruise ship that never leaves the dock. There’s never enough time to take advantage of all of the activities, but we’re working on that.”
Cy and Kaye love living in Sagewood, and their advice to prospective tenants: “Don’t wait too long to make your decision and miss all the amenities and joy of living in Sagewood.”

TerryTestimonial_00AD0B774C762“Exercise is a major part of my life. The access to physical fitness is one of the things I like most here at Sagewood. My calendar is so filed I had to buy a bigger calendar- every day has something going on!” – Terry Tabback  

“We moved to reduce the responsibility for everything—multiple bills, maintenance. We have more time because we don’t have to worry about those things anymore. Now, we almost need more time to accomplish all there is to do here!” Earl Vender  


“I like to get out and meet the new people at the community—variety is the spice of life! A lot of good humor goes on around here and I enjoy life.”

Diane Christensen