With the many advances in cancer treatment, today’s cancer patients have more and more reasons for hope. Portraits of Hope are the incredible stories of our patients and their journeys of hope and survival. Click on a thumbnail and scroll down to view each story.
Chuck Hinds, a 54-year-old Army veteran, knew his family history of heart disease could affect him one day. Watching his father undergo a quadruple bypass at the early age of 55, Chuck had adopted a healthier lifestyle over the years to prevent heart disease. However, when he woke early one Saturday morning with tightness across his chest, a cardiac issue was not his first thought despite his family history of heart disease.
Chuck proceeded to walk around the house and make coffee thinking the tightness would subside. He then decided to go outside and sit by the pool. At that point, Chuck started experiencing a sudden onset of chest pain, profuse sweating and nausea.
He knew that he needed to seek medical attention, so he went inside the house and woke his wife Pam, who is a nurse. She immediately realized that he may be having a heart attack.
The couple quickly made their way to the McLeod Health Clarendon Emergency Department. Upon arrival, the Emergency Department staff rushed Chuck into an exam room suspecting a cardiac issue. The medical team evaluated his symptoms, took a medical history, performed an EKG and ordered lab work. The test results indicated that Chuck had indeed experienced a heart attack. He needed emergent cardiac intervention.
The Emergency Department staff immediately called for McLeod Air Reach, an aerial medical helicopter, to transport Chuck to McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence. However, due to sudden inclement weather, the team was unable to transport Chuck. Staff members then contacted McLeod Health Clarendon EMS to transport Chuck by ambulance to Florence for an emergency heart catheterization.
Within 90 minutes of Chuck arriving at the McLeod Health Clarendon Emergency Department, he was in the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at McLeod Regional Medical Center under the care of McLeod Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Anil Om.
“It was amazing to watch the catheterization on the monitor while Dr. Om explained every step of the procedure,” said Chuck. The heart catheterization revealed a complete blockage of Chuck’s right coronary artery. Dr. Om placed a stent in the artery, fully restoring blood flow to Chuck’s heart.
“Immediately, my heart seemed to light up like a Christmas tree on the monitor. I could see blood flowing through the artery where it had not been flowing before,” said Chuck.
After the procedure, Chuck spent the next two days in the hospital surrounded by staff that he describes as “fantastic.” “From the doctors and nurses to radiology staff, I could not have asked for a better care team,” recalled Chuck.
During his follow-up appointment, Dr. Om referred Chuck to the Cardiac Rehabilitation program at McLeod Health Clarendon. After a short recovery period at home, Chuck completed 36 sessions of cardiac rehabilitation and is now an active member of the fitness center.
“Participation in the program helped me get back into the habit of exercising regularly and eating healthy,” said Chuck.
“McLeod Health Clarendon Emergency Department staff will forever have a special place in my heart,” Chuck added. “Their quick action, compassionate care and skill made the difference in my outcome. Dr. Om also shared with me that I have no damage to the heart muscle because the flow of blood to my heart was quickly restored.”
Today, Chuck is back at work and following a heart healthy diet. He now understands how important it is to seek help at the first sign of chest discomfort. Chuck also urges others to know their family history of heart disease and learn ways to decrease their risk of a heart attack.