You Inspire The Best in Us.

With the many advances in care and treatments, today’s patients have more and more reasons to expect the best outcomes. Here are the incredible stories of our patients and their journeys. Click on a thumbnail and scroll down to view each story.

  • I’m Superman Now
  • Matters of the Heart
  • Convenient Heart Care Saved My Life
  • Transforming The Heart
  • Back on Her Feet and Walking Without Pain
  • Enjoying Life to the Fullest
  • Getting Back in Rhythm
  • Ensuring the Heart
  • Wyman Wise: An Unexpected
    Heart Attack
  • Back in Action after Heart Surgery
  • Dr. Piccolo’s Surgical Skills
    Saved My Leg
  • Carol Clark
  • Steve Reaves
  • Weighing the Options
  • Two Repairs, One Team
  • Dr. Srinivas Kolla: McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgeon
  • Everyday Hero
  • Watch Henry Bell’s Story
  • Watch Dennis Sullen’s Story
  • Watch Brenda Suggs Story
  • Watch Frenchie Moser’s Story
  • Count Every Blessing
  • The 18th Hole
  • Recovering from Heart Failure
  • Producing a Healthier Life
  • Repair of a Triple Threat
  • A Change of Heart
  • Heart Rhythm Experts
  • The Vascular Care You Need Now
  • Small Clip = Big Repair
  • Clearing the Fairway
  • Can’t Stop the Music
  • Emergency Cardic Care with Extraordinary Outcomes
  • In the Nick of Time
  • Opening New Doors in Vascular Care
  • Life-Saving Friends
  • Journey from Heart Disease to Cancer: A Life Saved
  • A New Treatment For Aneurysm Repair
  • Lorene Godbold
  • Shirley Simon
  • Brenda Kelly
  • Suné Watts
  • Pam Palmer
  • Ready for the Next 70 Years
  • Moving in The Right Direction
  • Coach Nelson
    Faced with the match of his life, couch Nelson was glad we were on his team
  • Patsy Simmons
    We mended her heart, so she could tend to her garden
  • Mike Cullipher
    Back to the Top of His Game
  • Teresa Ward
    A Grateful Heart

I’m Superman Now

By Tammy White

It may have taken tremendous strength to recuperate from the lifesaving surgery Ernest Readon underwent with McLeod Vascular Surgeons Dr. Carmen Piccolo and Dr. William Jackson, but now that he is fully recovered Ernest claims to feel like Superman.

In January 2023, Ernest sought medical attention at the McLeod Health Clarendon Emergency Department for pain in his legs, especially his left leg. He thought this could be from his left knee popping out of the socket. During his medical exam, it was discovered Ernest had no pulse in either of his legs.

Ernest was transferred to McLeod Regional Medical Center where he met Dr. Piccolo, who explained the lack of circulation in his legs was an indication of Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), an unfamiliar term to Ernest.

Peripheral Arterial Disease is the reduced circulation of blood to a body part due to a narrowed or blocked blood vessel. Shaped like hollow tubes, healthy arteries have a smooth lining that prevents blood from clotting and allows blood to flow smoothly.

When Peripheral Arterial Disease is present, a fatty plaque has gradually formed inside the artery walls, reducing blood flow. Blood clots can then form around the plaque, making the artery even narrower.

A classic symptom of Peripheral Arterial Disease is pain in the legs with physical activity such as walking that gets better with rest. “Four out of ten people diagnosed with Peripheral Arterial Disease experience no leg pain,” according to Dr. Piccolo. “Some patients who experience symptoms believe it's a natural part of aging, so they fail to report it to their physician. If PAD worsens it can eventually lead to amputation."

Ernest’s blockages were quite significant.

His scan revealed they extended from his aorta, the main artery of the body that supplies oxygenated blood to the circulatory system, all the way to the iliac artery, which provides blood to the legs.

Ernest required bypass surgery to create an alternate route for the blood to flow around the obstructed or damaged vessels.

During the five-hour surgery Dr. Piccolo and Dr. Jackson used man-made grafts, a thin fabric tube sewn into place, to replace the diseased section of arteries.

Today, Ernest says he is a changed man. Ernest is now fully educated on Peripheral Arterial Disease and the lifestyle changes necessary to remain healthy.

He immediately quit smoking, eliminated fried foods and red meat from his diet, and now walks several miles a day. “I learned how to respect my body.”

“Cigarette smoking is one of the most important risk factors for Peripheral Arterial Disease,” explains Dr. Jackson. “Eighty percent of patients with this disease are current or former smokers. Peripheral Arterial Disease is also more common in African Americans than in any other racial or ethnic group.”

“Thanks to Dr. Piccolo and Dr. Jackson and their surgical skills, I am alive today and still able to walk,” says Ernest. “There are many people in my family, my church and my community who need to be aware of this disease and the dangers it can bring to their health. Pain in their legs, cold or numb feet, skin discoloration, those are all signs they should discuss with their doctor.”