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A Life Saved on a Friday Night: Roy's Story

Posted on: Friday, October 20, 2017
Written by: Kelsey Swindler

CMH launched interventional cardiology care, to include 24/7 STEMI care, less than a month ago, and our patients – and their families – are seeing the impact first-hand. Two weeks ago, Roy Whitt was playing golf when he felt short of breath. He promised one of his caregivers he would stop in at an ER on his way home, but insisted on stopping at CMH – his hospital. When Roy arrived with severe shortness of breath in the ER, Dr. Rakesh Chawla, Interventional Cardiologist, was immediately consulted, and the emergency and interventional suite teams began testing to rule out cardiac issues.

His angiogram showed there was no blockage, but his physical appearance – white-faced with graying nose and lips – indicated something was causing cardiac distress, so Dr. Chawla performed a right-heart catheter to measure pressure on the heart. The procedure indicated elevated pressure, and so the team called in the 24/7 on-call echocardiography team to see if there might be fluid surrounding the heart. The echo showed that Roy was suffering from a condition called Cardiac Tamponade, a deadly build-up of fluid around the heart, and would need an immediate intervention.

Dr. Chawla drained over a liter of fluid from around Roy’s heart muscle, and the recovery was almost immediate.

“He was gray when he came in, and to see his color return, and his energy, it was phenomenal. He was literally high-fiving the cath lab staff within a couple minutes,” said Dr. Chawla.

Roy told us about his impression of Dr. Chawla and his experience at CMH:

“He saved my life a couple weeks ago, on a Friday night. He came in wearing scrubs and a lab coat, and I asked him if they had called him in on a weekend just for me, but he assured me that’s his job. I tried to give him [Dr. Chawla] a hug while I was on the table, but they stopped me because they hadn’t removed the drain from my chest yet… This is my hospital, it’s where I feel comfortable, it’s close to my family, and it’s just an awesome team.”

Dr. Chawla shared, “This is a special thing to me. I’m a Beavercreek kid. It’s a dream to be home taking care of patients here.”

Greg Nielsen, CEO of CMH, highlighted the importance of providing this level of care to patients in Clinton County:

“In less than a month, we’ve taken care of patients who may not have survived the transfer to an outside facility, and that is why we did this. That’s why we’re here. We’re so grateful to take care of people like Roy, and keep them close to home.”

Roy Whitt (left) with Dr. Rakesh Chawla