Dottie’s Story: Heart Attack, Catheterization

October 25, 2009, began the perfect, warm autumn Sunday. The day was perfect for Dottie O’Brien, 63 from West Chester, it was her first day back home following having spent the past week with her two grandsons -they are “the happiness of my existence” she says of them located on Long Island, NY. It was a relaxing but hectic week.

“I recall sitting around the table in the kitchen with my husband Terry and thinking about what a pleasure it was to be able to relax and enjoy an iced espresso,” Dottie says. “He was working in the garden and I tried to catch up after the long week.”

But, before long, Dottie wasn’t feeling quite right. She felt a numbness in her jaw which she initially ignored. But quickly it became what she calls a “radiating” feeling. The pain then was felt in her chest.

“I realized that I’d never experienced something like the way before,” Dottie says. “I decided to lay down on my couch for while and thought maybe I was exhausted from the long week But then I realized that this was something I simply could not ignore.”

When the pain got worse as the pain grew worse, she walked her husband inside the house and informed him of her symptoms. Terry responded quickly by giving her two baby aspirins for her to chew on, dialed 9-1-1, and contacted their son, Kelly who lives close by. Dottie recalls that an ambulance was on the way quickly and by that point, she was barely able to communicate the discomfort.

Dottie did have a few risks for developing heart disease, which included her age, her strong family background, and a diagnosed diagnosis with early-onset Type 1 diabetes at age 40 (Type 1 or juvenile diabetes typically begins in the early years of childhood). However, she did all she could to mitigate these risks: she was healthy and regularly exercised by playing golf, biking as well as going to the gym. At the age of 50, she started going to a cardiologist for regular checkups because her parents and brothers had been affected by heart disease. Dottie had gone through a complete set of tests just three months prior, and all returned normal.

“I must say that I am thankful that I was able to present with the most common heart attack sign of severe chest pain,” Dottie says. “I realize that women can have diverse symptoms, including back pain, fatigue, or arm pain and I was easy to overlook these.”

Before she realized it she was on her journey to The Chester County Hospital by ambulance. Dottie admits that a lot of the event was blurred, however, she can recall the speed of the ambulance, its efficiency, and the feeling of urgency with which all the staff members took care of her. The woman was conscious of paramedics who were monitoring her heart and in contact with her Hospital. But she couldn’t believe that she was suffering from an attack of the heart even though the doctor said it was extremely likely.

The moment she got to the Emergency Department, she says there were “no less than 10 people” waiting to meet her in the waiting room and they were eager to go to work.

“I wasn’t certain what was happening, however, I could tell that each had a distinct job to perform and they embarked on a rapid course of action,” Dottie says. “They were making me ready for something and I recall them running me along the corridor at some moment. They didn’t waste time.”

Dottie was soon introduced to the cardiologist Mian Jan, MD, who she describes as”her “guardian Angel.” He carried out a cardiac catheterization and discovered that three coronary arteries were between 85 and 90% blocked. The doctor. Jan opened two of the blocked arteries and propped the vessels open using stents. Dottie returned one month later to place the third stent.

“Dr. Jan was wonderful,” she says. “I remember him kneeling down to inform me that he was present and they were planning to perform a catheterization and he briefed me on the procedure. The personnel working in the Catheterization Lab were amazing at keeping me updated and helping me throughout the process.

“From the moment we dialed 9-1-1 until the time I was done, it shouldn’t be longer than 90 mins,” Dottie adds. “It was all so quick. My husband and I were both taken off guard by the efficiency as well as the speed of the team. This was it was a gorgeous Sunday morning and the staff was all set to assist a heart attack patient to be admitted and to team up to provide me with the best chance of recovery.”

Dottie could have come to the best conclusion The evidence was inconclusive of any harm to her heart. And within two months, she and Terry went to Florida to enjoy their traditional golf trip in January. She’s still very active, cycling, playing golf, and exercising, and has recently begun working at the Chester County Food Bank. She visits Dr. Jan for regular follow-up visits, however, she’s moved to a new stage in her life. She declares that she has “no concerns” regarding what has happened.

On the 25th of October in the 25th of October, Terry offered Dottie flowers as well as a note to mark the one-year anniversary of her cardiac attack occasion thanks to his quick decision and the high-quality care the patient received from The Chester County Hospital.

Within a week of the special day, November 1, Chester County Hospital learned it was awarded full accreditation to operate as an accredited Chest Pain Center with PCI (percutaneous coronary intervention or catheterization) from the Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC). SCP C’s aim is to lower the risk of dying from heart attacks by educating people to identify and respond to the first signs of a heart attack, speed up the process of treatment, and improve the efficiency and precision of the treatment. To be an Accredited Chest Pain Center The Hospital must demonstrate an exceptional quality of care and know-how in each of these areas which is the same experience that saved Dottie’s life as well as her heart muscle.

“As I think back that day, I am certain I am a very fortunate human being,” she says. “I expressed my gratitude to my doctor. Jan for saving my life, but he also thanked my husband for his quick thinking. The sense that there was a need to act at my ER along with Dr. Jan’s expertise was crucial. Dr. Jan later told me that even a few minutes could have affected my outcome and made it worse. The minutes made a difference which is why I advise anyone I know to never dismiss the possibility of heart attack symptoms or even attempt to travel to the hospital. Make sure to dial 9-1-1 as soon as you notice any symptoms.”

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