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"Caring for Mom, Caring for Her Family"


Pauline Costein was enjoying a trip to Las Vegas with her sons when she began experiencing back pain. Not wanting to cause any alarm she didn’t mention anything to her son Ike until the next morning. “We took her to a local hospital and discovered she had a heart attack,” said Ike. The Las Vegas hospital staff recommended that they meet with a cardiologist after returning home to Ohio. “We saw our physician, Dr. Sizemore, who recommended Dr. Vigesaa at Mercy Willard Hospital. We set up the appointment and then Dr. Vigesaa did follow-up tests to determine Mom’s next steps.”

Although Ike was comfortable with technical language, Pauline appreciated Dr. Vigesaa’s insight and down-to-earth approach. “He put it in plain English which was really helpful for someone like me who is not technical. It really helped reduce my anxiety,” said Pauline.

Pauline’s health was deteriorating and her sons were worried. “There were several times we thought we were going to lose her before the surgery,” said Ike. Pauline was transported by Life Flight helicopter to Mercy ST. Vincent’s. “When we got there we were greeted by the surgeon, Dr. Louis Brunsting, who said she would go into surgery that night if needed. It really put us at ease to be able to see and talk to the surgeon as soon as we arrived,” said Ike. In addition, the family greatly appreciated Mercy St. Vincent’s “Home Away from Home” program. “It’s phenomenal,” said Ike. “If something happened to Mom while she was in the hospital we would have had to drive more than an hour each way and it was the middle of winter. Instead, through the ‘Home Away from Home’ program we were able to stay in an accommodation at the hospital for just a donation and would be able to get to mom within minutes.”

One of the other facets of care at St. V’s that Ike appreciated was that patients remain in one room for the entire stay. “Mom had surgery for an aneurysm in 2000 and it created a lot of anxiety when she had to move from ICU to a stepdown unit,” said Ike. “This time it was a huge relief for us. The different nurses came to Mom instead of her having to switch rooms. It was great that everything remained familiar.”

Pauline was discharged just five days after being admitted for the surgery. After returning home Pauline had regular in-home follow-up care from a Mercy nurse, physical therapist, and occupational therapist for about six weeks. “We were really impressed with the home health care that Mercy system provided,” said Ike. “It put us at ease knowing that if something wasn’t going right with her recovery the nurses and therapists would pick up on it quickly since they were seeing her daily.”

Pauline was pleasantly surprised at how quickly she began recovering from the surgery. “I used to have to use a walker and now I only have to use it once in a while, not very often,” said Pauline. “I believe that being able to talk with your doctor can help speed up your recovery because you understand what’s happening, or what’s supposed to be happening.”

“We think the Mercy system is fantastic and our experience proves that Mercy is the hospital of choice for robotic or heart surgery,” said Ike. “We can’t thank them enough for all they’ve done for us.”

Pauline is a big fan now too. “If I knew anyone who needed cardiac care I’d recommend they go to a specialist and go to Mercy. I would definitely recommend Dr. Vigesaa. He is so friendly and understanding. He answers all your questions and puts things in words you can understand.”

“You need a good feeling about your doctor and I definitely have a good feeling about Dr. Vigesaa,” Pauline laughed. “I know I’ve got a ways to go yet but I’ll just take it a day at a time.”

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