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"Take Me to St. V's"

When Lou H. , who lives in Attica – a small town near Willard, Ohio – required cardiac care, Mercy Willard Hospital’s Emergency Department stabilized him for transport and then asked which Level I Trauma Center he wished to go to – the one in nearby Mansfield, or Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo. Even though it was farther away, both Lou and his wife, Mary, immediately replied, “St. V’s!”

“We’d heard that the doctors there are top notch, and they have the latest equipment,” Mary said. “I had always told Lou that if anything ever happens to me, I want him to ‘Take me to St. V’s.’ So we didn’t hesitate for a moment when offered the choice of where to go.”

Lou’s medical adventure began Thanksgiving night, 2006.

“I told Mary I didn’t feel well, and she asked if she should call EMS,” Lou said. “I told her to wait a bit, but she decided to call Paula Karr (Paula, the Director of Mission and Values Integration at Mercy Willard is also a registered nurse and the Hoyles’ neighbor.) She told Mary to give me some aspirin and call the squad, and she’d come over.”

Paula and her husband accompanied Mary to Mercy Willard and stayed with her until Lou, who received retavase and nitroglycerin there, was ready for transfer. A heavy fog that night ruled out the possibility of a Life Flight transport. Instead, a Mobile Life Mobile Intensive Care Unit provided ground transport to St. V’s. Lou went into cardiac arrest as he arrived, and medical personnel rushed him into the Cardiac Catheterization Lab, where they put in a stent.

Lou remained at St. V’s for a few weeks. He developed a lung infection, and unfortunately the antibiotics administered to kill the bad bacteria in his lungs also attacked the good bacteria in his colon, causing another infection and extending his hospital stay. Mary, who spent 17 nights at Home Away From Home, appreciated being able to stay near her husband. And, she said her entire family was treated with compassion and respect by everyone they encountered.

“The nurses were all so nice and so good,” Mary said. “They never acted as if we were in the way when we were visiting, and anytime we were in the room, they would rattle off his vitals for us and ask if we wanted to talk to the doctors. If we had any questions, we had them answered. All four of our sons spent a lot of time there with their families, and they too all said they were treated really well.”

One particular nurse stood out from the crowd in caring for Lou. “Becky, in Cardiac Critical Care, was just amazing,” Mary said. “The day of his surgery, Lou’s blood pressure kept dropping, and she was really worried. She just kept calling Dr. Alkhateeb (Mohammed Alkhateeb, MD, Cardiology) and pushing more fluids. She was just really on top of things during a very critical period, and we feel that she probably saved his life that night.”

Lou noted that the physical therapists in the Step Down ICU were very helpful and good natured. And, when he finally got to go home, he and his wife both felt they received very thorough discharge instructions.

“They made sure I understood exactly what I could and could not do and what medications I needed to take,” Lou said.

“They really did their job – I couldn’t have asked for more information.”

Following discharge, Lou received Mercy Home Care through Mercy Tiffin Hospital and Mercy Willard, and physical and occupational therapy services through Mercy Tiffin. He continues his rehab there and said he recommends the service wholeheartedly.

“I am finally getting back to normal now, and as we’ve reflected on the experience, we just feel so grateful,” Lou said. “We really appreciated Paula’s guidance the night it all started. I give her a hug every time I see her and thank her for saving my life. It’s nice to have a friend who is a medical professional to help you make decisions in a situation like that. And, while I hope I never have another problem like this, if I ever do, I would go to St. V’s again in a heartbeat.”

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