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"Cardiac Rehab at St. Charles Saves Patient's Life"


Ken G., 60, is alive today because he was in the right place at the right time. He was nearing the end of a session in Cardiac Rehabilitation at Mercy St. Charles Hospital when his heart stopped. Quick action by Cardiac Rehab nurses saved his life.

Ken, who’d undergone open heart surgery at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center  has been participating in Cardiac Rehab at St. Charles ever since. He is in maintenance therapy once a week there. On Aug. 26, his session was anything but typical.

“I had been looking good, feeling good,” he said. “I was at a point where I’d usually work up a sweat when I exercised. I came in ready to work out. I’d been on an upper-body machine called the ERG for a while, when Sam (Samantha Christie, RN, BSN, Senior Clinical Coordinator, Heart Failure Clinic/Cardiac Rehab St. Charles) said, ‘Ken, are you OK?’ I was tired but not in any pain, and I only had a couple of minutes left and wanted to finish. Sam and Joni said ‘No!’ They sat me down then laid me down, and that’s all I remember.”

Ken lost consciousness.

“When I came to, I heard Sam and Joni saying, ‘Ken, wake up!’ I woke up; I felt fine. I was ready to get up and go, but they said, ‘You’re not going anywhere except to the Emergency Department – your heart stopped. We had to thump you to get it started again. So, I ended up at the ED at Mercy St. Charles, then was transferred to where my personal cardiologist goes. They catheterized my heart, checked me out and ended up putting in a pacemaker/defibrillator.’

Ken said he considers himself lucky.

“I am fortunate that I was where I was when my heart decided to stop,” he said. “I never saw it coming. The nurses knew there was a problem before I did. If I’d been at home or somewhere else, I guess I’d just be another statistic. I’ve always enjoyed going to Cardiac Rehab. They make it fun. You get to know them and enjoy spending time with them, and you feel safe there. They monitor your heart rate while you’re working out, check your blood pressure, help you keep track of all of your meds. It’s just a really excellent program. I have been back at Cardiac Rehab for about a month now, and I am getting stronger again. I have always kept myself in shape, and I’m doing the same now. I am doing pretty well, thanks to Cardiac Rehab.”

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