To God be the glory
PIKEVILLE — After completing 36 sessions of Pikeville Medical Center’s (PMC) Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, 55-year-old Teller Norman of Phelps is thankful to be feeling “better than ever.”
In the fall of 2013, Norman went to see his family physician regarding pain he was experiencing in both shoulders. He was planning on having an operation to fix the pain, but was first referred to PMC’s Heart and Vascular Institute Cardiologist Dr. Jose Velazquez for a quick check up.
Norman was prescribed an exercise stress test, where he felt an uncomfortable heaviness in his chest and was diagnosed as “borderline” for heart disease.
An exercise stress test helps provide information about how a patient’s heart responds to physical exertion.
During the test, the patient’s heart rate and blood pressure are constantly monitored while he/she exercises on a treadmill or stationary bike.
His results caused concern, so Norman underwent a heart catheterization procedure completed by Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Muhammad Ahmad.
A cardiac catheterization checks the heart’s blood flow and blood pressure.
Prior to these tests, Norman had not experienced any symptoms related to heart disease. “Sometimes, about once every two months, I would feel a sense of heart burn after I would eat something,” said Norman. “I thought it might have something to do with my gallbladder.”
When he awoke from the cath procedure Norman was surrounded by his wife and sister. Shortly after, he and his family were greeted by Cardiothoracic Surgeon Dr. Raed Alnajjar.
The physician explained to Norman that he had four major blockages in his heart and suggested he undergo open heart surgery within the week.
Norman chose to have surgery the next morning.
Before the operation, he learned that Dr. Alnajjar had only been with PMC for about a month.
As a man of faith, Norman knew this was no coincidence and asked Dr. Alnajjar, “Did you know that God sent you here to operate on me?”
The procedure went exactly as planned and three days after, Norman was eating breakfast with friends.
Following surgery, he was referred to PMC’s Cardiac Rehabilitation program.
“It’s amazing how God works,” said Norman. “During my stay at Pikeville Medical Center, all of my physicians were wonderful, and I was blown away by the care and helpfulness of the staff.”
Norman continued, “They did such a great job. They took care of me from top to bottom.”
He especially appreciated the care that Cardiac Unit Shift Supervisor and Nurse Whitley Dotson gave to him during his stay in the hospital.
He also bragged on the cardiac rehabilitation staff, Brigetta Collins and Maggie Belcher.
“God brought me through it all,” Norman reflected. “He brought me to Pikeville Medical Center, where he knew I would be taken care of. I’m so proud to live in Pike County and to be able to call PMC my hospital.”
Patient’s hope restored
PIKEVILLE — Kenneth Sexton of Virgie just celebrated his 60th birthday, and says he has a lot to be thankful for this year.
He credits this new hope and outlook on life to Pikeville Medical Center’s (PMC) Vascular Surgeon Dr. Bashar Ghosheh.
Earlier in the year, Sexton began to experience extreme pain, discoloration and numbness in his right leg and foot.
“The pain was unbearable. My foot turned black and would just go numb,” he explained.
Upon seeking treatment at PMC’s Heart and Vascular Institute, Sexton began seeing Dr. Ghosheh and was diagnosed with severe peripheral vascular disease (PVD) in his right leg and gangrene (a large mass of dead body tissue) in his right foot.
The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) defines PVD as “a disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to your head, organs and limbs.”
Previously, Sexton underwent two amputations to his left leg, causing him to fear he may lose his right leg as well.
“Before going to Dr. Ghosheh, every physician told me I would definitely lose my right foot up to my ankle, and maybe even more,” said Sexton.
Dr. Ghosheh treated him by completing an angiogram (an x-ray used to view the body’s blood vessels) and performing a balloon and stent procedure on his right leg to open the blocked blood vessels, increase circulation and allow more blood flow.
During his stay in the hospital, Sexton was very impressed with the care he received. “Everybody treated me so well,” he said.
He was especially fond of Sherry Davis in housekeeping and Fred Davis in maintenance.
“They were wonderful and made sure my family and I had everything we needed. They went above and beyond, and you could tell they really cared.”
Several weeks after the surgery, Dr. Ghosheh stated that due to the treatment, “the gangrene in Sexton’s foot and severity of PVD had regressed and his surgical wound healed.”
At his last follow-up appointment with Dr. Ghosheh, good color had returned to Sexton’s foot and the pain he experienced was almost gone.
With the hope of keeping his right leg, Sexton smiles as he thinks about the future. He says he knows he still has a lot of recovery ahead, but strives to walk without any assistance.
He said, “After you’ve been down for so long, you don’t want to sit still.” He looks forward to going fishing with friends and running after his grandchildren.
When talking about Dr. Ghosheh, Sexton can’t say enough. “He’s a fine doctor with a wonderful bedside manner. He’s genuinely an honest, good man whose devoted to and really cares about his patients. He is wonderful and my family and I have already recommended him to several family and friends.”
For more information about services offered by the PMC Heart & Vascular Institute, call 606-218-4530.
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