Education is Key in Recognizing Medical Emergencies

By Britney Glaser - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - This year, 800,000 Americans will have their first heart-related health scare. It's something that recently happened to a Ragley man, who shares his story in this Healthcast.

63-year-old Linn McMichael is a 40 year employee of Lyondell-Basell. His health through the years has allowed him to stay on full-time in a job he enjoys.  "I've been in good health," says Linn, "I would say excellent health all my life."

But two weeks ago, Linn started feeling a pain that would not go away.  "I started getting pain in my left arm and I thought I had pulled a muscle," says Linn.

Just a few months prior to this incident, Linn took part in a job-site safety meeting where he was educated by the CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital staff about what to do when feeling pain like this. While Linn knew this could be the sign of a heart attack, he, like many other people, ignored it.  "I woke up with bad pain in my neck and my chest just really felt like it was going to explode," he says.

It was then that Linn and his wife decided to go to the hospital, where physicians discovered severe blockages in his heart. While Linn was recovering in ICU, registered nurse Sonya Cook, who instructed the course Linn had attended back in November, stopped by.

"He said 'I remember you, I remember what you said,'" says Cook, "and while Mr. McMichael did recognize the signs and symptoms of a heart attack, he did what most all people do, and that is he waited to get treatment and he had his wife drive him to the hospital."

Cook says the greatest barrier in getting immediate health care is actually the patient.  "They take the attitude of wait and see," says Cook, "and what's happening is time is passing and we're losing valuable heart muscle."

Linn's hope in sharing his story is that more people will actually listen to the signs their body gives in distress. He knows that not all heart attack patients see happy outcomes like his.

*If you are interested in having a nurse on staff with CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital come to your place of business for a health education course, call Louise McDaniel at 491-7555. These classes are free and could give you or someone you work with the information that will save a life.