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.”  

heartLove Your Heart 

Take a free online heart risk assessment, learn about early heart attack symptoms, and more at

Continue Watching

Community Grand Rounds - Battling Structural Racism

Structural Racism, meaning biases that have been built into the institution's people rely on, is a pervasive issue in the US.

Community Food Network: A Leg Up on Life

After assistance from a Lakeland nurse, Nancey received intervention for a life-threatening condition in the nick of time.

Weathering and Health Inequity: Letting the Epigenome Out of the Bottle Without Losing Sight of the Structural Origins of Population Health

Dr. Geronimus discussed weathering and the ways that structurally rooted biological and psychosocial processes shape health inequities in our society.

Interview with Bechara Choucair, MD: Advancing Health? It's About the Mind, Body, and Community

Dr. Choucair shares how his organization is working to improve conditions for health and equity

Interview with David Williams, MPH, PhD: Structural Competency and Institutional Discrimination

Dr. David Williams discusses institutional discrimination, individual discrimination, and structural competency.

Interview with David Williams, MPH, PhD: Recognizing and Preventing Implicit Bias

Dr. David Williams discusses his research on ways to recognize and prevent implicit bias.

Interview with David Williams, MPH, PhD: Discrimination and Health Disparities

Dr. David Williams discusses his research on health inequities caused by racial discrimination.

Interview with David Williams, MPH, PhD: Social Influences on Health

Dr. David Williams discusses his research on the distinctive social exposures linked to racial status.

Interview with Patricia Rush, MD, MBA

Dr. Patricia Rush discusses the impact of psychological trauma on the brain and on chronic disease and health inequities.

COVID-19 Update 9.22.21

Spectrum Health Lakeland President Loren B. Hamel, MD, and Acting Health Officer at the Berrien County Health Department, Courtney Davis, share the latest COVID-19 updates in Berrien County.

© Spectrum Health Lakeland 2021