Patient credits hospital for saving him

Dick Clark speaks with Billee Phillips, RRT, NPS, ACCS, in the GSS cardiac rehabilitation department.

For over 50 years, Glenn “Dick” Clark has been married and has owned and operated his local business, Dick Clark’s Plumbing. He was also a Shelby County board member for more than 40 years. He is very well known all throughout the county, and he loves people.

On May 4, 2018, he was working in his Shelbyville shop when he began to feel lightheaded, weak and ill. Believing he had a touch of the stomach flu, he told his son that he was going to go home. He drove as far as the airport when nausea hit, and he became extremely ill. He pulled into the airport and got out of his truck. He was violently vomiting when his friend saw him kneeling against his truck.

His friend turned around and came to his aid. He asked Clark if he could take him to the hospital. Clark said he would drive himself there. As Clark stood, he nearly fainted and told his friend to drive him.

As they pulled into HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital (GSS), his friend told the greeter that he thought Clark was having a heart attack. The emergency department went to work.

“One smiling face started an IV, another brought me a warm blanket because I was shaking. Another drew blood, while yet another began an EKG. The doctor hovered for a moment and stepped out,” Clark said. “Within minutes of starting the EKG, the technician called for the doctor. The doctor told me that I was actively having a heart attack, and life flight would be there in 15 minutes.

“They did a great job with me. Each person who helped me talked to me. They told me their names and what they were going to do. Each person was attentive and treated me like a person, not a number. I wasn’t frightened because I knew I was in good hands. They kept me informed every step of the way which was so comforting to me.”

He continued, “The life flight crew were fast and efficient. The flight was marvelous but it wasn’t a sightseeing trip.”

The flight crew transported him to Springfield HSHS St. John’s Hospital where he was taken directly to the cardiac cath lab. There they began the procedure of a heart cath without anesthesia because there was no time for it. The entire time, the team continued to keep Clark informed of what would happen next.

Clark had previously had stints put into his heart. After the procedure, he learned that seven of these stints were 100 percent blocked.

Since then, Clark has met with Luis Caceras, M.D., with the Prairie Cardiovascular Consultants at the specialty clinic at GSS. Clark said that his doctor believes there was no damage to his heart. Dr. Caceras has recommended cardiac rehabilitation for Clark which he intends to do at Good Shepherd.

“We’re very lucky to have this hospital here in our little town. We have excellent care right here in our own backyard,” Clark said, through tears. “Every person who touched me made me feel like they cared about me. The good Lord believes I still need to be here or I wouldn’t be. That, and the exceptional care I received at Good Shepherd and St. John’s.”

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