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Dec 2021


‘Amazing and compassionate staff’ at Christian Hospital care for SLCH employee’s heart

By: Andrew    3105 0

‘Amazing and compassionate staff’ at Christian Hospital care for SLCH employee’s heart

“It was the scariest time of my life hearing the doctor say, ‘You’ve had a heart attack,’” says Dwayne Ingram, St. Louis Children’s Hospital patient advocate coordinator.

Early in the morning on Aug. 5, Ingram says he couldn’t sleep because of pressure he was feeling on his chest. “I thought it was just heartburn so I took some Tums to see if that would help, and I went downstairs to watch TV so I wouldn’t disturb my wife while she was sleeping,” he says.

“I turned on a documentary on Netflix and was dozing off a little. I wasn’t completely asleep and could still hear the TV show that was on, and I heard a woman on the TV say, “It was like an elephant sitting on his chest.” I sat up right away and couldn’t get that thought out of my head because that was kind of how I was feeling. I wasn’t sure what she was referencing, but I thought to myself, ‘I need to wake up my wife.’”

Ingram went upstairs, woke up his wife and told her he thought he was having a heart attack.

Ingram’s wife, a pediatrician, shot up out of bed and started asking questions about his symptoms. Ingram told her about the chest pressure and that he was having cold sweats and felt extremely exhausted.

“Rather than call 911, we decided to drive to the hospital,” Ingram says. “We live in North County and as we were leaving the neighborhood, she asked me, ‘What hospital?’ As I was thinking about it, I remembered a time a good friend of mine told me about Christian Hospital and its focus on heart conditions — and I told her to take me there.”

Once they arrived in the emergency department, Ingram’s wife told the employee at the registration desk that her husband was experiencing chest pains and they immediately took him back to a room, hooked him up to an EKG monitor and drew blood a couple of times.

“There is an enzyme level in your blood that doctors look at to see if you have had or are experiencing a heart attack,” Ingram says. “A normal level is a 6. The first time my blood was drawn, this enzyme was at a 43 and the second time they took my blood, the enzyme level was at 73.

“Once the ER doctor and cardiologist saw both numbers, the cardiologist told me I had had a heart attack and this is the heart’s way of letting my body know something has happened,” Ingram says.

“From the ER, I was sent to the cardiac cath lab and was left in the arms of some amazing nurses. A dye was inserted in my veins to see if anything was blocked,” Ingram recalls. “My circumflex artery was 90% blocked and I had a stent put in that same day. The next day I was at home and about five days later back at work.”

Upon reflecting, Ingram says perhaps the signs were there, and he’s glad he paid attention. “A few days before I went to the hospital,” he says, “I noticed as I was walking into work at St. Louis Children’s Hospital that it was challenging for me to breathe with my mask on. I’ve been wearing a mask for over a year and never had a problem, and I thought to myself how odd that was. Now it all makes sense to me, and I’m glad I listened to what was going on with my body.

“It was a good thing I went to the hospital when I did, the doctors told me. I was lucky that there was no damage to my heart. I feel so good,” he says. “I’m breathing better and just feel really great.”

He’s also grateful for the quick and excellent care he received.

“From start to finish with my experience at Christian Hospital, everything was phenomenal — from entering the ER and how rapidly they got me to a room, the professionalism of the staff, to how smoothly everything went in the cardiac cath lab and how compassionate and kind everyone was including the nurses, patient care techs and physicians,” says Ingram. “Christian Hospital took the steering wheel and directed me out of this scary time in my life and gave me a second chance. I have four incredible children and I want to see my future grandchildren someday. I am so lucky I was at Christian Hospital with the staff’s attentive and wonderful care.

“I’ve seen the Christian Hospital logo countless times but what stood out to me this time around was the heart in the logo — and now I know why it’s there,” Ingram says. “The staff there are compassionate and take great care of all their patients, including taking care of me and my heart. I am so proud to be a BJC employee and to have had a wonderful experience at one of our many wonderful hospitals. Christian Hospital saved my life, and I am forever grateful.”

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