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Heart Institute Patient Stories

My ♥ belongs to PMC

Until 2009, I had been excluded from my family’s shared history of heart problems.

 At the time I had no clue as to what was going on inside my body. I had not been feeling well for months, but I just kept telling myself that I would be fine.

 I was experiencing shortness of breath, chest pressure and sharp pains in my arms.

 On a sweltering Sunday in August of 2009, I returned home from a media event for Prestonsburg’s football team.

 After making my way to the couch, I began to feel strange. Again, I couldn’t be sure of what I was feeling. That was the first time I got scared.

 I shrugged it off, telling myself it was probably the heat. The next day, I was putting in a day’s work at the Medical Leader office. Suddenly, that strange feeling came over me like never before.

 This time, I couldn’t deny it. Wasting no time, my co-worker and Medical Leader Advertising Manager Bob Bell rushed me to the Pikeville Medical Center Emergency Department.

 After performing several tests, PMC staff concluded that I should stay the night and undergo extensive testing. My primary care physician at the time, Dr. Nick Smith, visited my bedside. I promised him if he allowed me to go home for the evening I would be back at his office at 8 the following morning for an EKG.

 Lucky for me, I kept my word.

 The next morning after the EKG, I was on my way to work and got a call from Dr. Smith’s nurse, Paula. She told me things were not right and that I needed be scheduled for a heart catheterization immediately.

 The cath, performed by Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Muhammad Ahmad, marked the changing point of my life — the results were much worse than I had expected.

 Dr. Ahmad consulted with a PMC Cardiothoracic Surgeon Dr. Peter McKeown to look over my results. A few short minutes later, McKeown explained to me, along with Dr. Ahmad, that I needed triple bypass surgery.

 I was terrified and shocked by the news. Honestly, I should have known — my body had been telling me for a long, long time.

 My father died at the age of 44 after suffering a heart attack.

 My younger brother died after having gone through open-heart surgery just three years ago.

 My mother has had by-pass surgery as well.

 Genes were against me.

 That day, Dr. McKeown became my best friend. He and his Registered Nurse Lori DeRossett explained to me — in detail — what to expect.

 He told me my chances of survival were 99 percent.

 That percent was as high as the blockage in my valves.

 I do not doubt that if I had put off coming to PMC for treatment, I would have likely died from a heart attack and would not be writing this testimonial. My heart was a ticking time bomb.

 On the day of my surgery — Sept. 2, 2009, I put my life in God’s and Dr. McKeown’s hands. Together they worked along with the other professionals at PMC to give me a second chance at life.

 Just five days following my surgery I was home recovering. The road back hasn’t been without its bumps, but I’m so grateful to both Dr. Ahmad and Dr. McKeown for the work they did to allow me to continue to live a normal life.

 Recovery has included two stages of cardiac rehab. Much gratitude goes to Registered Nurses Brigetta Collins, Maggie Belcher and Joan Hammond. I’m so grateful for their encouragement.

I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.

 I have been through so much.

 I couldn’t have done it without the encouragement and support of my co-workers and the Heart Institute professionals we have that are second to none when it comes to treatment and care for their fellow man.

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Jim Evans
VP for Finance and Business Affairs
Pikeville college


“All my life I’ve tried to lead a healthy lifestyle. I never smoked, I have never been overweight and for over 25 years I was a regular runner. On April 25th, I came to work and started experiencing discomfort while sitting at my desk. This time, it was not from exercising. It would not go away. Ten hours later I was out of the operating room with six bypasses and I was alive. In my 56 years, I have lived in ten states throughout the United States…literally from Seattle to Boston. I think it is safe to say I could not have received better care anywhere than I received at Pikeville Medical Center.”

January 7, 2008

Dear Pikeville Medical Center,

My husband, Cleetis, was a patient in Pikeville Medical Center last week. He had two stents, one was a 3.5 inch blockage. Thanks to your staff, he walked out of the hospital and back to the life he enjoys.

Here is a picture of Cleetis doing one of the many things he has been able to enjoy doing,... he's driving (in a parade in Irvine) a 1948 Allis Chalmers G tractor that my dad bought new and Cleetis restored two years ago.

I am an ER nurse in Richmond and Mt. Sterling and I never miss a chance to refer patients to your hospital... Cleetis does the same.

Thanks to Pikeville Medical Center and all the new technology, he has enjoyed a wonderful quality of life! Thanks to you all for all the good work. We will show our gratitude by telling about your Heart Institute every time we get the chance!


Stanton, KY


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