Heart Attack Care Close to Home: Mary's and Phil's Stories

Even though Mary Fox and Phil Morrical are total strangers, they have a lot in common. The two Butler County-area residents both have histories of heart problems—Mary, a heart attack in 2011 and Phil, blocked arteries requiring three stents in 2013. Both were unsatisfied with their care with the hospital and providers that treated them and switched to The Christ Hospital and The Christ Hospital Physicians—Ohio Heart & Vascular

When each of them felt chest pains in early summer of 2018, both were grateful to have life-saving heart care available so close to home at The Christ Hospital Medical Center-Liberty Township.

Making Decisions When Minutes Count

In June, Mary, a 74-year-old retiree, and her husband Jack were in the car ready to go to their water aerobics class. 

"I felt what I had with my other heart attack—the same pain in my shoulder, going down my arm and my fingers were numb," recalls Mary. "I knew." 

Instead of driving to class, Mary drove to the The Christ Hospital Medical Center - Liberty Township, only 10 minutes from home. Within minutes, Mary had an EKG, blood tests and was on a treadmill for a stress test. Her cardiologist, Thomas O'Brien, MD, was there and told her she likely had a severe blockage that would need to be opened. 

Mary received medication that helps get more blood to the heart and relieve pain and was immediately on her way by ambulance to the cardiac cath lab at The Christ Hospital main campus. Her EKG had already been transmitted and the cardiac catheterization team was waiting for her when she arrived. By the time Jack arrived, Mary’s angiogram revealed a 95% blockage, which had already been opened and a new stent placed.

Phil, a 62-year-old realtor, knew from his previous training and work as a paramedic and emergency medical technician (EMT) that minutes count when it comes to a heart attack. So when he was experiencing shortness of breath and indigestion—signs of a heart attack—while driving to his office in late May, he decided the best thing he could do was drive to The Christ Hospital Medical Center in Liberty Township five minutes away.

"As an EMT, I saved lives by making the right decision about where to take people," he says. "I thought, 'Why not apply that to me?'"

Tests revealed that fluid had built up around his heart, making his heart work harder and causing the shortness of breath and pain. Since Phil used The Christ Hospital providers for all of his medical care, the cardiologist, Dr. O'Brien had convenient access to Phil's medical history, medications and Phil's cardiologist Dean Kereiakes, MD. An adjustment in medication reduced the fluids and Phil stayed overnight for monitoring. 

"I had multiple sets of eyes on me that night," says Phil. "I was monitored on site at Liberty and the telemetry system allowed doctors at the main Christ hospital to monitor me too. It was an added benefit to have a team watching me."

Mary and Phil both fully recovered and credit their decisions to choose Christ Hospital and its physicians, for their care. They're grateful they had the level of heart care they've come to expect so close to home at the Liberty Medical Center.

"I knew I would be well taken care of there," says Mary. "Everyone you come in contact with goes the extra mile to make sure you are." 

Phil agrees. 

"I knew from being a prior patient that Christ's care was superior to what I'd had before," he says. "I also know from my experience as an EMT and then as a patient, if you don't have patient and quality care down, there are problems. Christ has the best cardiac physicians in the Midwest, along with cutting-edge technology. I had no doubt that I'd be in good hands at the Liberty Medical Center. And I was." 

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