New Hospital Physician to Begin Working in Houston in AugustJune 30, 2023
TCMH Cabool Clinic Enhances Patient Experience with Simmons Bank SupportJuly 14, 2023
Houston resident 54-year-old Kevin McGowen woke up on the morning of Thursday, June 1, and didn’t feel quite right.
“I was brushing my teeth and getting ready for my day and had an episode of chest pain that went from my fingertips to my jaw,” McGowen said. “I thought maybe I had forgotten to take my blood pressure pill, so I went to the kitchen and took one just in case. A bottle of aspirin was sitting on the counter, and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to take one of those as well.”
McGowen explained that the pain lessened after taking the medication, so he went on his regular morning routine of stopping at the Shell gas station for his morning iced water and tea. He told the staff at the gas station that he wasn’t feeling very good and was possibly having a heart attack. He wanted to tell someone just in case something did happen to him.
Kevin and his wife, Brenda, own the local flea market on Highway 63. Kevin drove to the flea market after leaving the gas station to open the shop and work for the day. He barely got out of his truck when Allen Butler, one of his employees, arrived a little after nine. This was not Allen’s day at work, and he was usually never scheduled to arrive before ten.
Kevin explained to Allen that he may be having a heart attack.
“Allen started googling heart attack symptoms, and I became rather annoyed with all his questions,” Kevin said. “He said you have all the symptoms, and we need to get you to the emergency room.”
Kevin stated he didn’t argue at this point, and the pain intensified significantly on the way to the emergency room. He wanted to tell Allen to hurry and get to the emergency room as fast as he could but restrained in doing so for safety reasons.
“I walked into the emergency room and told the lady behind the counter, I think I am having a heart attack, and then I started getting very hot and sweaty,” Kevin said.
In the following critical moments, the emergency room staff knew exactly what to do and what steps to take next. The protocols in place established through the ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) designation that TCMH has, turn these crucial moments for patients into lifesaving steps to preserve the heart muscle of patients until they can be transferred to more extensive facilities where interventional heart procedures can take place.
When McGowen arrived at TCMH, the staff initiated “chest pain protocols.” These protocols involved getting McGowen in an exam room and hooked up to an electrocardiogram (EKG) in just 5 minutes, with a goal of 10 minutes.
An EKG either confirms or denies a heart attack. If confirmed, staff then initiate STEMI Protocols. A STEMI, more commonly known as a heart attack, can quickly damage the heart and the body. Responding rapidly is critical.
Brian Grantham, MD., was working in the emergency department when McGowen arrived that morning and was able to confirm within minutes of his arrival at TCMH that he had experienced a STEMI.
TCMH staff immediately prepared McGowen for air transport to Cox Hospital in Springfield, a level one STEMI center offering interventional care. TCMH recorded a door-in and door-out time of 43 minutes, with a goal of 45 minutes.
During the transfer to Cox Hospital, McGowen was shocked and resuscitated four times in flight.
Upon arrival at Cox Hospital, McGowen was shocked and resuscitated eight more additional times on the catheter lab table. Interventional care was provided with a door-to-device record time of 113 minutes with a goal of 120 minutes. TCMH and Cox have not met the door-to-device time in over three years, so this is a massive win for the staff and patients.
“Due to the prompt and fast response of our TCMH staff, McGowen survived a massive inferior heart attack,” Lauren Toman, TCMH STEMI medical coordinator, said.
Within two days of his heart attack, McGowen headed home from Cox Hospital.
As part of the recuperation process, McGowen is now participating in cardiac rehabilitation at TCMH. Cardiac rehab allows STEMI patients to help regain strength in their hearts through exercise.
“Kevin started the 12-week program of 36 sessions on June 8, just one week after his heart attack,” Dana Wilson, TCMH cardiac rehabilitation director, said. “The sooner the patient starts cardiac rehabilitation, the better the outcome.”
“I am so thankful that TCMH is here and for the well-trained staff that provided the quality, efficient care for me,” McGowen said. “My story could have had a much different outcome.”
“Kevin is a prime example of why we strive to meet rigorous standards and improve our care here at TCMH,” Toman said. “It could have been anyone. This could have been a grandparent, a parent, a friend, or a family member to anyone here. This is always personal for me, and that’s how we can offer the care we do to our patients.”
TCMH is a Level Four STEMI Designation from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Time Critical Diagnosis Unit for their quick response to their STEMI patients.
“We are so blessed to have our local hospital meeting state guidelines,” Stace Holland, TCMH CEO, said. “With the state standards we are achieving and the goals we strive to meet each day, the community is extremely fortunate to have this hospital here.”
Kevin and Brenda have been married for 27 years, and now thanks to the fantastic emergency department staff at TCMH, they are looking forward to many more years together.
Brenda and Kevin both expressed their gratitude to Allen Butler for being persistent and insisting that Kevin be taken to the emergency room.
“How do you thank the team who saved your husband’s life?” Brenda said. “I am so grateful for the team’s knowledge and quick action and God’s providence.”
According to the American Heart Association, chest discomfort, discomfort in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach, shortness of breath, sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness can all be signs of a heart attack. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, go to the nearest emergency room immediately or call 911.