Emergency Department Patient Stories
No Worries for Craig Chicker
It was the week of his daughter’s wedding when Craig Chicker began experiencing pain in his left arm. He didn’t tell his wife about the pain, but was in the shower when she came home. “I thought the warm water would help the pain,” he said.
His wife wanted to take him to the hospital right then, but Craig wanted to wait to see if it got better and he had plans for the next day. “I knew it was going to be a busy week and I wanted to get my turkey hunting season finished by Monday,” Craig said. “I told my wife we could go to the doctor if I didn’t feel better after I went hunting the next day.”
The next morning, Craig picked up his hunting buddy and planned to stay out a couple of hours. The two split up to try to fill both tags, but had no luck. When they got back together, Craig went to retrieve the truck while his buddy searched for morel mushrooms. The truck was parked nearby on a gently upsloping hill. “I went about 25 yards and had to stop. I was just exhausted and felt like I had no stamina,” he said. “After a little rest I started again. Then, I got a terrible pain on my left side and especially on my left arm. So, I moved the rifle I was carrying to my right arm.” When Craig’s pain moved into his jaw and his left side became weak, he quickly became aware that he needed to get to the hospital. “I had trouble unloading my gun and couldn’t even zip my gun case,” he said. “I think I am having the big one,” he told his friend. “Can you call my wife so she can let them know we are coming?”
When Craig got to the hospital, the Emergency Department team was ready and waiting for him. “I thought I was probably having a heart attack, but was never worried because I know the people at the Richland Hospital and that I would be taken care of,” he said. After a ride in a helicopter, Craig arrived at a Madison hospital where he was met by cardiologists who took him directly to surgery.
A few days later, he walked his daughter down the aisle to be married. And after the wedding, Craig and his son went turkey hunting again. “I went turkey hunting to say, I am still here,” Craig said.
Mary Krug was Moved by the Care She Was Given
Mary Krug has been pretty healthy all her life. Late last summer, she began to feel poorly, but initially, passed off her symptoms as something that would pass if she slowed down a bit. By evening, she felt even worse and was experiencing terrible stomach pain.
Her first thought was that maybe she had a case of food poisoning. So, Mary took charcoal tablets hoping to get relief. When they did not help, she asked her husband to take her to the Richland Hospital Emergency Department. There Dr. Alex Pasquariello ordered a CT Scan which revealed that Mary had a bowel obstruction. Her life-threatening condition meant that she would be traveling to Madison by helicopter.
“Heather (Bolen) was a very sweet girl who put in my NG tube. She did it so professionally,” she said. “Everyone did their jobs very well and were so courteous and kind and professional.” After emergency surgery and a hospital stay, Mary wanted to encourage Dr. Pasquariello and the Emergency Department team to continue doing the great job they are doing.
“When I was young, it was a kinder and gentler world. Today, people are under a lot of stress. When people are rude or nasty, we sometimes change a little to survive,” Mary said. “When you come into something different, you are surprised. I wondered – Is this really happening? I wasn’t with them very long, but I kind of loved them because of the kindness they showed me,” she said.
“They Saved My Life”
One hot, muggy day last summer, Gary Manning was preparing a piece of heavy machinery for his next job. “I was greasing a part over my head and I got really tired,” he said. “I put my arms down and I felt like an alien had punched through my chest and was squeezing my heart.” Feeling like the heat was the culprit, Gary sat down to rest and then continued with his day. As he and his co-worker drove the piece of heavy equipment through town, Gary’s pain increased. He took some aspirin, turned his rig around and headed for the hospital. “I thought about going home, taking a shower, and laying down,” he said. “If the hospital had been in a different town, I would probably have done that.”
Gary parked his rig and trailer on a street near the hospital and began walking toward the hospital. “The more I walked, the further away the hospital seemed to get,” he said. When Gary entered the hospital doors he told his neighbor, receptionist Debbie Shields, that he was having chest pains. She swung into action and the Emergency Department staff immediately went to work. “My room went from having two people helping me to a whole bunch of people in a very short amount of time,” Gary said. “They work really well together and everyone was very kind and professional.”
Diagnosed as having a heart attack, the ED team set-up for a transfer to Madison. “Both of my sons made it to the hospital to see me before I made the trip. It meant a lot to me,” Gary said. “That probably would not have been possible if the hospital wasn’t right here.”
“They saved my life. When you know you are being cared for correctly, it puts you and your family at ease,” he said. “If I had gone home instead of to the hospital, Dr. Khan said it is likely that I would have been found dead in bed.”
Philomena Poole Received Great Care at the Emergency Department
Philomena Poole and her husband, John, were at the Richland Hospital Foundation’s event last fall when she began having chest pains. Believing that it was indigestion, she left her husband at the event and went home to take an antacid and relax. After taking the medication, her symptoms did not subside. In fact, they became worse. She began to sweat and feel nauseous. When her husband arrived home, she told him she needed to go to the hospital. As a medical provider, she knew that her symptoms were the same as someone having a heart attack.
“I felt silly going to the hospital in case my symptoms were nothing, but I knew if I went that I would be in good hands and that they would get to the root of it,” she said. “When I got there, the ED team took great care of me. Everyone was very caring and professional and assured me that I needed to be there.”
The Richland Hospital Emergency Department (ED) assessed Philomena. The testing was inconclusive and it was determined that the best way to help Philomena would be to transfer her to Madison for more testing.
“I felt very well cared for by the Richland Hospital ED team and by the ambulance team who transferred me to Madison. Everyone was very kind and professional,” she said. “I still don’t know exactly what happened, but I know that I did not have a heart attack. I am so glad that the Richland Hospital is here when we need it.”