Thank You, From One Life Saver to Another
A 30-year-veteran of the Greensboro Fire Department, Chuck Stockard had accompanied numerous patients to the Emergency Department at Moses Cone Hospital.
But, in the winter of 2018, he checked himself in after experiencing what he describes as the classic symptoms of a heart attack - chest pain, jaw hurting, radiating pain down his left arm.
Stockard recently returned to the hospital to say thanks to those who treated him.
“The Emergency Department team saved my life,” says Stockard. “And then the nurses in ICU were really good. They took great care of me. And now the rehab team, they’re awesome.”
Stockard, who has been retired for nine years, used to drive a quick response vehicle for the fire department.
“We responded to fire calls, but mostly medical calls and wrecks, heart attacks, suicides,” he says. “Just about every call EMS went on, we went on. I came to Moses Cone’s Emergency Department, I can’t tell you how many times.”
He was at home on Jan. 5 when the chest pains started. He had seen these symptoms plenty of times in other people throughout his career, and he knew what was going on. He told his wife “we have to go,” and they got in the car.
Emergency Department team members were able to quickly get him into an acute treatment room.
“His primary nurse (Millie Gage, BSN, RN) noticed his color wasn’t great,” says registered nurse Brooke Miller, BSN, RN3. “He was a little diaphoretic, sweaty. We got him hooked up to the monitor immediately. The doctor went in there and said he was going to call a Code STEMI, which means an acute heart attack.”
Stockard heard what was happening around him.
“I had heard that before,” he says. “But in the past, I was the one standing over the patient. I knew what was going on. I knew where I was going, and why I was going.”
He was shocked with defibrillator pads, and then emergency medicine physician Marcy Lynn Pfeiffer, MD, initiated CPR. After about a minute or two, he came to and asked if he could get his hat back.
Cardiologist David Wayne Harding, MD, wound up performing cardiovascular surgery on him.
The staff made sure to provide comfort and support for his wife as well.
“We had one nurse working on giving him meds, one nurse charting, one nurse operating the defibrillator,” Miller says. “And I looked over and his wife looked traumatized, obviously. I don’t know how you wouldn’t be. And so I took a minute and said, ‘Are you OK?,’ and helped her out of the room. That way she would still be a part of what was going on, but not right in the middle of it.”
Stockard noted that Harding came out several times to tell his wife the surgery was going well.
Now attending rehab three times a week, Stockard finds himself to be more appreciative of what life has to offer. He’s also grateful to reconnect with the clincial staff who helped him.
“They’re great at what they do, but people come in into the Emergency Department and then move upstairs and never get a chance to see these care providers again,” says Stockard. “I just wanted to come back and thank them. I appreciate them. They’re well trained.”