Good deeds do get rewarded.
Visalia resident Shawn Myers can attest to that. As a goodwill gesture,
Shawn prepared a meal of barbecue meats, veggies and cake for his daughter,
Madison Myers, and her colleagues who work as nurses in the Emergency
Department at Kaweah Delta Medical Center.
A few weeks later, Shawn needed those very same people to help save his
life after he suffered a massive heart attack.
While receiving treatment for a blood clot that had traveled up his leg
to a branch of his left coronary artery, Shawn was almost pronounced dead
three times. The blockage is dubbed "the widow maker" for its
"But no one would give up. They kept on going," said Shawn.
Just a month earlier, Shawn appeared to be the picture of health. A 50-year-old
construction inspector for the City of Visalia, Shawn was accustomed to
working up to 16 hours a day. On June 21, he was given a clean bill of
health following an annual visit to his doctor, who ordered a series of
tests, including an EKG, which checks for signs of heart disease.
Fast forward to July 14, when Shawn arrived home from work feeling drained,
like he "had run three marathons."
His wife, Judy, suggested that Shawn lay down on their bed while she took
a shower. Before Judy finished, Shawn realized that something was gravely
wrong and called his daughter to give him a ride to the Emergency Department.
Madison and her boyfriend, Patrick Ramirez, arrived quickly and rushed
Shawn to Kaweah Delta. Once he was at the hospital, a team of nurses and
doctors, led by Registered Nurse Clarissa Alvarado, sprang into action.
They hooked Shawn up to an EKG that indicated he was having a heart attack.
Nurse Alvarado stayed by Shawn's side even as he was rushed to the
Cath Lab, where imaging equipment would be used to visualize the arteries
of the heart.
"I've been a nurse long enough to recognize what's wrong before
we know exactly what's wrong," said Clarissa, who has been in
the field for 81/2 years, including the past 51/2 at Kaweah Delta. "We
know when it's a cardiac alert; we have to gather the patient and
do many things before the Cath Lab team comes in. I know to stay calm
because there is no room for frantic nurses."
Shawn's wife said Clarissa played a crucial role in Shawn's survival.
Clarissa, part of an award-winning staff committed to delivering compassionate
healthcare, also provided updates to Shawn's shell-shocked family.
"Her genuine concern, kindhearted words and empathetic touch during
the moments our family was sure we had lost my husband were deeply moving,"
Judy said. "We will be forever grateful to Clarissa for her professional
excellence and extraordinary care."
Clarissa remained by Shawn's side as he was taken into the Cath Lab,
where Dr. Aditya Verma oversaw more than an hour of chest compressions.
Shawn was also shocked roughly 40 times in what proved to be a successful
effort to save his life. Shawn doesn't remember much after they started
shocking his heart.
He awoke around 8:30 the next morning quite sore, but thankful to a team
committed to a culture that delivers a personal, professional and compassionate
heathcare experience to every patient, every time. "In construction,
every man has to know his job. And if there's no communication, there's
chaos," Shawn said. "On that table [in the Cath Lab], it was
the same thing. Everyone knew their job and knew how to do it well. They
have such a short amount of time to have the biggest impact on someone's
life. They were awesome."
Shawn spent seven days in the hospital until he had recovered enough to
go home. He was impressed with the hospital staff's ability to provide
exceptional healthcare and its commitment to quality and safety. "You
couldn't ask for more compassionate, caring and professional people,"
Shawn said. "They took great care of me."
Shawn went back to work September 18. And while he's been told that
he won't be completely recovered for nine months to a year, Shawn
has returned to doing side jobs, like landscaping and pouring concrete
at his daughter Madison's new home.
"I've learned to slow down a little and take more breathers,"
Shawn said. "But I feel great. I'm back doing the stuff I love