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Palos Is Unsurpassed Emergency Heart Care

For 77-year-old Oak Forest-resident Eugene Girten, it was Palos’ Emergency Department that made all the difference.

Rosemary and Eugene Girten of
Oak Forest.

Within minutes of arriving by ambulance on the night of December 26, 2011, Gene went into ventricular fibrillation and lost consciousness. An EKG revealed that his right coronary artery was 100 percent blocked, and his condition was deteriorating rapidly. CPR was started immediately, and Gene’s heart had to be electrically shocked back into rhythm, not once but three times. Gene was having a major heart attack. Emergency Department Physician Stephen Chester, D.O., wasted no time in calling a Code STEMI.

A Code STEMI, which stands for ST Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction, is activated whenever a patient is diagnosed with this specific type of heart attack. It sets into motion a series of medical protocols designed to save a person’s life, fast. The American Heart Association has established a nationwide standard for getting a heart attack patient from initial contact to treatment within 90 minutes. Palos consistently beats that time by 27 minutes, which means we’re stopping heart attacks up to 27 minutes faster than the national standard.

Gene Girten was in the Cardiac Catheterization lab being prepped to receive the stent that would open up his artery and save his life within 32 minutes. “The situation didn’t look good,” Gene’s wife, Rosemary, recalls, “so our family held hands as our grandson said the miracle prayer to St. Anthony. No sooner had we said ‘amen’ than the nurse walked in to tell us that, after three attempts, they got the stent in place and Gene’s color was back. It was so scary, but everyone at Palos was wonderful. We were in the best place we could have been.”

Gene had more than one reason to celebrate that day. “The next thing I remember is waking up Tuesday morning with a breathing tube down my throat. But I could tell that there was no damage to my heart because I immediately remembered my wife’s birthday. As soon as they removed the tube, I said ‘Happy Birthday, honey! Who paddled me?’”

That’s what Palos Community Hospital’s Emergency Department does every single day — gives patients and their loved ones more reasons to celebrate. The Palos ED treats an average of 130 patients a day, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The expansion and renovations planned for 2013 will not only increase the size of the Emergency Department, but it will enhance the privacy, functionality and comfort of all its patient rooms. “Once complete, the remodeling will allow the department to develop efficiencies benefiting both patients and staff,” says Mark Netzel, D.O., chairman of the Emergency Department.

Eugene and Rosemary Girten celebrated 56 years of marriage on April 28th.

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Ranked #1 in Illinois

Palos Is ranked #1 in Illinois by HealthGrades for Overall Cardiac Services for 2 Years in a Row.