On November 1, 52-year-old Brian Wedge started feeling pressure in his chest and began sweating for no apparent reason. Worried about his symptoms, Brian went to the Emergency and Trauma Center at Pleasant Valley Hospital. Dr. Anthony Kitchen, a board-certified emergency medicine physician and the hospital’s new medical director for emergency and trauma services, ordered a blood test and an EKG to see if Brian was having a heart attack. Brian also received nitroglycerine to open up his arteries. The blood test came back normal. But Dr. Kitchen, who has 24 years of experience working in the ER, still had a gut feeling that something wasn’t right.
“Brian’s EKG was a little unusual, though not enough to indicate a heart attack,” says Dr. Kitchen. “The fact that he was sweating made me think that he was having a heart attack, so I called St. Mary’s Medical Center.” In less than 45 minutes, Brian was being transported by helicopter to Huntington.
It turned out that Dr. Kitchen’s intuition was spot-on. Brian had five blockages in his coronary arteries and needed quintuple bypass surgery. One of the coronary arteries that needed repair was the infamous widow maker, the left anterior descending artery and a major pipeline of blood for the heart. The blockage in Brian’s widow maker was 100 percent, which is almost always fatal without emergency care.
Today, Brian feels great.
“I’ve lost weight, have more energy, and my wife has noticed more color in my face,” he says.
“The care I received at Pleasant Valley Hospital was top-notch. The way the nurses communicated with my wife was excellent. They left no questions unanswered as to what was happening and what she needed to do.”
When Brian and Dr. Kitchen encountered each other in the emergency room, it was an impromptu reunion. “We knew each other in high school,” explains Brian. “We both played football, but on different teams. After the Friday night games, we would get together and bowl on Saturday morning.”
“If I remember correctly, I was a better bowler, but Brian was a better football player,” says Dr. Kitchen.
“I’m so thankful that I went to Pleasant Valley Hospital,” Brian says. “If I had gone anywhere else, they might not have made the right call, and I probably wouldn’t be alive today. I really think Dr. Kitchen saved my life!”