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Improving Outcomes after a Heart Attack

Posted by | Posted in ALMH, Heart, Memorial Medical Center, Rehab | Posted on 16-02-2017

There’s life before your heart attack, and then there’s life after. Those first days and weeks as you start “life after” can be difficult physically, mentally and emotionally. That’s one reason the earlier you start going to cardiac rehab, the faster you recover. Read the rest of this entry »

Heart Attack Survivor Has a “Heart for the Kettles” This Holiday Season

Posted by | Posted in ALMH, Heart, Memorial Medical Center, Rehab | Posted on 13-12-2016

salvation-army-almhTony Shuff is a busy man, and his Oct. 5 heart attack was not on the fall “to-do” list.

His warning signs?
• Tired and easily winded
• Shortness of breath
• Minimal feelings of discomfort around the heart

The 64-year-old small-business owner and director of the Logan and Mason County Salvation Army received life-saving care at Memorial Medical Center and then started cardiac rehabilitation at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital. Read the rest of this entry »

An Honor to Serve Those Who Served

Posted by | Posted in Heart, Memorial Medical Center, Rehab | Posted on 09-11-2016

pete-rafferty-and-nephewPete Rafferty, 72, knew from early childhood that he wanted to serve his country.

A Springfield native who attended Feishan’s High School, he achieved that dream quickly upon graduation when he enlisted in the U.S. Marines in 1963.

He was assigned to the 1st Marine Regiment of the 1st Marine Division. By July 1965, his unit had deployed to patrol South Vietnam, where he served as a communications and radio operator.

Later that year, Pete contracted a severe case of malaria. He came home soon after to recover and was honorably discharged.

His was a less-than-glamorous homecoming, like so many other war veterans of his time and those who served before him. So when his opportunity came to travel on an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., this past summer, he had high hopes of returning home to his family and friends with a greater sense of celebration and fond memories to boot.

But first, Pete had to ensure his health would allow the trip to happen at all. Read the rest of this entry »

A Close Call Leads to a New Lease on Life

Posted by | Posted in Heart, Memorial Medical Center | Posted on 16-07-2015


Kathryn Kramer holding her great-granddaughter

Kathryn Kramer holding her great-granddaughter

Her granddaughter was the first to notice something was off.

When Courtney called from her home in Carbondale, her grandmother, 84-year-old Springfield resident Kathryn Kramer, couldn’t finish sentences. She didn’t remember if she’d eaten, and she was sleeping throughout the day.

Years earlier, Kathryn was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), a disease where her bone marrow doesn’t produce enough red blood cells. Last March, her red blood cells dropped to the point that she wasn’t getting enough oxygen for her brain to function normally.

“I don’t remember much about the dip,” Kathryn said. “They said I would say, ‘Oh, I’m fine,’ but I didn’t know anything was wrong.”

Knowing her history and alarmed by their phone conversation, Courtney, drove to Springfield and brought Kathryn to Memorial Medical Center. Over the course of her six-day hospital stay, she received three blood transfusions. Tests showed she was also in mild heart, liver and kidney failure, undoubtedly caused by the MDS.

By that time, Kathryn’s daughter, Lisa Brihagen, had flown in from her home in Seattle. Together, they were approached by a representative from Memorial’s Heart Failure Clinic. Read the rest of this entry »

Lincoln Heart Attack Survivor: ‘I Feel Better Than Ever’

Posted by | Posted in ALMH, Heart | Posted on 26-05-2015

Ruthetta-Getchel-ALMHRuthetta Getchel and her husband, Jack, were a day away from embarking on a trip to Minnesota in July 2014 when Ruthetta awoke in the middle of the night experiencing severe back pain and profuse sweating. Jack quickly drove Ruthetta to the emergency department at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital.

After an initial evaluation, Ruthetta, 67, quickly learned she was experiencing a heart attack. She was stabilized and immediately taken by ambulance to Memorial Medical Center and had four stents placed. She subsequently had four additional stents placed in November.

“Without the emergency team at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital, I’m certain I wouldn’t be here today,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »

Heart Attack at 40: Young Mom Bouncing Back

Posted by | Posted in Emergency Department, Heart, Memorial Medical Center, Testimonial, Women | Posted on 26-02-2015

Cardiac-Rehab-PatientThe possibility that she might be having a heart attack only briefly crossed Becky Griffith’s mind. She was, after all, only 40 years old.

Last November, the mother of two began to feel severely fatigued and short of breath. While she had no fever and didn’t feel sick, something still didn’t feel right.

“It felt like I had run a marathon,” said Becky, who co-owns A New You Salon and Spa in Springfield with her younger sister.

After her exhaustion lingered for a week, Becky decided it was time to visit her doctor. That’s when she briefly considered a heart attack but dismissed it. She received an EKG, and her physician said she likely was experiencing acid reflux.

Any relief she felt from her doctor’s visit was short-lived. She awoke at 11:30 that night with severe pain in the middle of her chest and radiating down both arms and in her jaw. She stayed awake in a recliner through the night and finally took her blood pressure at 6:30 a.m. It was well above normal. Read the rest of this entry »

Follow Your Heart: Arrhythmia 101

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Heart | Posted on 04-02-2015

stethescope-heart-imageMaybe your sweetheart sets your heart a’fluttering or maybe those flutters indicate a potential health issue.

Actually, it’s not just folks with a heart condition who can experience arrhythmia, which is a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. It’s actually fairly common. During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm.

However, those with underlying heart disease are at the highest risk, whether they have symptoms or lead a normal life. Read the rest of this entry »

Heart Stents 101

Posted by | Posted in ALMH, Emergency, Heart | Posted on 26-11-2014

Ruth-Bader-GinsburgStents aren’t just for 81-year-old Supreme Court justices like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who recently underwent a heart procedure to fix a blockage in her right coronary artery.

The senior member of the country’s highest court was exercising when she experienced discomfort – a timely reminder for people of all ages to pay attention to your body’s signals during exertion. Read the rest of this entry »

An Unstoppable Heart: How George Rudis Beat Death Three Times

Posted by | Posted in Emergency, Emergency Department, Heart, Memorial Medical Center, Rehab, Testimonial, Videos | Posted on 18-06-2014

George-RudisOn Oct. 8, 2013, George Rudis began his day the way he always does—with a run at the Sacred Heart-Griffin track. For the 62-year-old Springfield native and lifelong athlete in training for a marathon, everything seemed normal.

“I got up like I do every day, got to the track and we ran our first mile as a warm up,” he said. “I went to check my watch, and, the next thing I knew, I woke up two days later in the hospital. I remember nothing beyond that.”

In the time in between — the time he doesn’t remember — George nearly died three times. Read the rest of this entry »

Fast Facts About Heart Disease

Posted by | Posted in Heart | Posted on 30-04-2014

174-0347-Heart-Infographic_webNot every heart attack or stroke looks like the ones shown on television dramas. Some occur with less prominent symptoms, but all have the potential to be deadly. This infographic helps you learn the warning signs and ideal responses if you encounter a victim of cardiac arrest, heart attack or stroke.

Read the rest of this entry »