Tag Archives: heart stories

Patient Stories

Reina’s Silent Heart Attack


Patient Stories

Reina’s dressed for her Zumba class, ready to go. As each classmate walks in, she hugs them. “Thanks for celebrating my birthday with me!” She flashes her electrifying smile: “I’m two today.” Reymita Walls—known as Reina—isn’t two. She has an 18-year-old daughter, an adult son, and is a grandmother of three. But two years ago the Metropolitan Utilities District employee collapsed in a hallway at work minutes after walking in the door. When co-workers spotted her, she didn’t have a pulse and she wasn’t breathing. Panic followed. Employees who saw her every day—most of them good friends–couldn’t believe she was on the floor, lifeless. Some were crying. One started CPR. Another called 911. Others prayed. “Reina, stay with me!” one … Continue reading

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Patient Stories

Heart Attack at Age 32


Patient Stories

“I really thought I was dying” Jenny Petz will tell you how lucky she is: “Seventy percent of people who have what I had are diagnosed in the morgue.” Eight days before she collapsed in her home, the 32-year-old had delivered her second child—a boy she and her husband named Kai. Her daughter Maile was three. Jenny had always been trim and active. The last thing she expected was to have a massive heart attack. “On New Year’s Eve-three nights before-I had a funny feeling in my throat. I figured it was anxiety and I was doing way too much.” The night of her heart attack, Jenny had just nursed her newborn and had that “funny feeling” in her throat … Continue reading

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Patient Stories

A Coach’s Heart Scare: From Google to Quadruple Bypass


Patient Stories

For the third night in a row, Mike Dempsey felt awful. He was uncomfortable and experiencing chest pain. He remembered what his children always said to do when he had a question: “Just Google it, Dad.” Mike logged onto his computer, went to Google and typed in “heart attack.” He didn’t like what he read. “I thought, ‘oh, I’m spooking myself,’ ” he said. But when the pain radiated all the way down his arm, he knew he couldn’t blame it on his occasional acid reflux. He called out to his sleeping wife, “I’m going to the hospital,” rushed out the door and drove himself to the Emergency Department at Alegent Creighton Health Bergan Mercy Medical Center. He knows now … Continue reading

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Patient Stories

911 Director Surprised to Find Himself Calling 911


Patient Stories

Larry Lavelle has helped deliver babies over the phone, instructed people on how to do CPR until the rescue squad arrives and put out “help an officer” calls that bring backup to police officers in danger. He was the last person to think he—the Sarpy County 911 director and emergency manager– would be calling 911. “I’d quit smoking six months before. I didn’t get exercise but I was never heavy. I went through stress tests. I had no symptoms…I had a false sense of security,” Larry says. Everything changed that Sunday. Larry went to church, had his usual Italian Scramble omelet at one of his favorite restaurants and was trimming trees with his son while his grandson played nearby. “I … Continue reading

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Patient Stories

Quick-thinking doctors saved his life


Patient Stories

Jeff Finch had the classic symptoms of a heart attack. “I was in the kitchen and both my arms went numb and I started sweating real bad,” he says. What he did next was something doctors see far too often. Jeff went out in the garage to cool off. A few minutes later, when the symptoms didn’t go away, Jeff knew he was having a heart attack. He had his wife drive him to Alegent Health Immanuel Medical Center. “I was scared,” he recalled. At 49, with no history of heart disease, Jeff came dangerously close to never playing ball again with his kids. He didn’t pick Immanuel Medical Center because it’s a Certified Chest Pain Center. He picked it … Continue reading

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