Getting to the Heart of Chest Pain

george-barfield-w-captionThere’s never a good time for an emergency—especially not on a holiday.

But when St. Joseph resident George Barfield experienced sharp chest pains on Christmas Day, he knew that he couldn’t wait to seek medical attention. 

George’s wife, Sara Shambarger, immediately brought him to the Emergency Department at Lakeland Medical Center, St. Joseph. As accredited Chest Pain Centers, the Lakeland hospitals in both St. Joseph and Niles specialize in caring for patients with chest pain like George. 

Because of the nature of George’s symptoms, he needed to stay overnight in the cardiac observation room to determine whether he was having a heart attack. George credits the Emergency Department team with helping him feel comfortable during what could have been a frightening experience. 

“Every person who came in was concerned that I had the information I needed and reassured me that I would be OK,” George said. “I felt confident they were taking great care of us.” 

Throughout the night, George was monitored closely, and his blood was drawn every four hours to check for indicators of a heart attack. Fortunately, the medical staff confirmed that George’s chest pain was the result of complications from the flu rather than a heart attack, and he returned home that afternoon. 

Over the next few weeks, George recovered at home and followed up with his longtime doctor, George Heenan, MD, of Family Physicians of St. Joseph. Looking back, George is impressed with his treatment. 

“I’ve been in other hospitals before, and it was nothing like that,” he said. “I was very proud of my hospital.”  

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