Ruth and David Borck were traveling through Tennessee on their way home to Illinois after a trip to Florida. It was during an overnight stop in Fairfield Glade when Ruth awoke in the night struggling to breathe. An ambulance took her to Cumberland Medical Center in Crossville, where she was stabilized and told she was having a heart attack. She was then transferred by ambulance to Covenant Health sister facility Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge, where she received catheterization and a stent placement, which saved her life.
“I was scared, I didn’t know where I was going or what was happening,” says Ruth. “I don’t remember having chest pain or anything. Just that I woke up my husband and I was clutching at my chest.”
Time is Muscle
Ruth’s heart attack was a result of a 95 percent blockage in one of her main arteries. She was having difficulty breathing due to fluid build-up in her lungs — a result of congestive heart failure. At Methodist, she was admitted to the intensive care unit, where she stayed for two days.
Luckily, she was treated within hours of her heart event. Her physician was Milan Sheth, DO, an interventional cardiologist who has treated cardiac patients in the Oak Ridge area for 14 years.
“Opening the artery as quickly as possible can minimize muscle damage,” says Dr. Sheth. He emphasizes that with heart attacks, time is muscle. “If you think you are having a heart attack, the quicker you seek attention, the better chances you have to recover more quickly and safely.”
The Best Care Possible
When the patient is stable and it is safe to administer a heart cath, a small tube is used to access the main arteries. This enables the cardiologist to place a small device called a stent, which immediately opens up blood flow.
Traditionally, cardiologists have accessed the artery by making a small incision in the groin. A newer method is through a radial heart cath, where the artery is accessed through the patient’s wrist.
Dr. Sheth used a radial cath to insert Ruth’s stent and says it contributed to her speedy recovery and safety.
Dr. Sheth and the cardiac team at Methodist Medical Center have received numerous accreditations and national recognitions for excellent cardiac care. In addition to quality medical care, he understands the importance of the patient and family’s emotional well-being, which can play a crucial role in recovery. He remembers how gracious Ruth was during her stay, and the appreciation her husband David showed for being told by the hospital staff about the Hospitality House.
David recalls how accommodating the nursing staff was at Methodist and his relief to learn about the Hospitality House, located right across the street from the hospital.
“You can go back and forth across the street,” David says. “It’s a pleasant place to be, with nice bedrooms, and a kitchen. It’s like having your own house across from the hospital. It made a huge difference.”
About the Hospitality Houses
“I think the Hospitality House is the greatest thing,” Ruth says. “We don’t have those [near her home in Illinois], and it is a wonderful place to be, especially for a nervous family.”
David says the Hospitality House became their “home away from home.” He says staying there at no cost during his wife’s hospitalization was a huge financial relief for his family. “The apartments are well designed and maintained, comfortable and close to the hospital.”
“Mr. Borck was very concerned about his wife’s health and I felt very lucky to play a part in making such a scary situation a little bit less stressful,” said Megan Jones, who works one-on-one with Hospitality House guests such as the Borcks.
“Working in the Hospitality Houses is such a blessing. You really feel like you are making a difference in not just the patient’s life, but their loved ones as well. My mother and grandfather had cancer when I was in high school, so I find myself most days being able to relate to these families during their stay. Being able to connect with them during some of the hardest times in their lives really touches your heart.”
Ruth has been sewing for 20 years and has quilting friends who help her assemble her creations. Many of Ruth’s quilts are destined as gifts for family and friends. In honor of the life-saving experience the couple had at Methodist, Ruth has donated a quilt to the Hospitality House to bless someone else in need.
The entire Borck family is overcome with gratitude for their experience at Methodist Medical Center and the Hospitality House.
“I was afraid because I was far from home,” Ruth remembers. “To find Dr. Sheth and Methodist was just wonderful. It was a real blessing.”