A very grateful patient recently returned to Lincoln Medical Center’s Emergency Room to express his appreciation to Lauren Thornton, a nurse who helped save his life.
Three days before he went to the emergency room, the patient had been experiencing chest pains. On Monday, he had increasing chest pains and at the urging of his co-workers the local man went to Lincoln Medical Center’s Emergency Room, barely able to walk. Medical personnel immediately helped him get the tests he needed to determine a course of action.
Lauren Thornton, RN BSN, said the first step when a patient comes in with chest pains is to do an EKG (electrocardiograph) and then to draw blood to check their troponin levels. “Troponin measures damage to the heart,” said Thornton.
According to an article in the National Library of Medicine by Medline Plus, if even a small level of troponin is found in your blood, it may mean there is some damage to your heart.
Thornton said the patient had a 99% blockage in his ‘widow maker’. Medline Plus describes widow-maker as an informal term for a heart attack that occurs when the left anterior descending artery (LAD) is totally or almost completely blocked. Thornton said the patient was treated with heparin, a strong blood thinner, then referred to a cath Lab, where, Thornton said they “put stents in to open his arteries. The longer the blockage happens, the more damage to the heart.”
Patients being treated or evaluated for heart or vascular condition may need one or more cardiac catheterization (cath lab) procedures, according to Medline Plus.
When the critical blockage in the artery stops, usually because of a blood clot, all the blood flow to the left side of the heart stops, causing the heart to stop beating normally. When this happens, patients may go into cardiac arrest, Medline Plus reported.
Thornton recalled that sometime after his procedure, the gentleman walked back into the hospital to give her a hug and a gift of a potted plant with a large note, “Nurses are all Heart.”
Thornton is a native of Lincoln County and is married to Drew Thornton, a native of Columbia.
National Nurses Week began on May 6 and continued through May 12. National Nurses Month, May 1-31, is a time when the American Nurses Association celebrates the impact nurses make on healthcare and appreciation of their invaluable contribution to the healthcare setting, serving their patients and making a difference in their community.