Quick ED Care and Cardiac Cath Gets Man Back on His Feet

From a McLeod Magazine article by Tammy White with
Dr. Brian Blaker and Dr. Evans Holland
McLeod Cardiology Associates

“After my [cardiac catheterization] procedure, they wheeled me out into the hallway where my family greeted me and placed Ruby — my four-week-old great-granddaughter — next to me. It was such a blessed moment.” – Gilbert Baker

Gilbert Baker’s journey to this moment began a week before Thanksgiving 2019, when he noticed tightness in his chest while taking the garbage can out. On Thanksgiving Day, he experienced a feeling similar to indigestion, but unrelated to his turkey dinner. The next day, Gilbert still felt ill and was taken to the Emergency Department at McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence, S.C.

The McLeod Chest Pain Center in the Emergency Department is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by experienced health care professionals, who are specially trained to recognize and quickly treat a heart attack.

“When we arrived at the Emergency Department, I thought we would have to wait, but a staff member brought me a wheelchair and wheeled me to an exam room right away,” said Gilbert. But his symptoms had progressed to chest pain and shortness of breath.

“I fell into a deep sleep,” said Gilbert. “When I woke, they explained I had a suffered a heart attack, and one of the nurses performed CPR.”

McLeod Interventional Cardiologists Dr. Brian Blaker and Dr. Evans Holland urged proceeding with a cardiac catheterization to clear blockages. However, before they performed the procedure, the cardiologists explained the risk involved in performing a cardiac cath to reopen his heart blockages and the chance that Gilbert might not make it through the procedure. Yet, they cautioned that if they did not attempt to clear his blockages and implant stents, he would have possibly one week to live.

“Mr. Baker had blockages in five different locations,” explained  Dr. Holland. “One was in his left main artery, and one was in a very difficult location to clear.

During the cardiac cath, the cardiologists used a sophisticated Impella device, which temporarily assists the pumping function of the heart to ensure blood flow is maintained to critical organs. Gilbert’s recovery care took place in the Cardiology Nursing Unit. His family says he does not like to slow down, which he proved true. The next day, he returned to walking his normal fast pace.

If you believe you are having a heart attack, CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY for transport. Do NOT drive to the hospital. EMS staff will begin treatment as soon as they arrive.

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