SHELBYVILLE, IL – Shortly after going to bed on October 4, Teri Whalen felt pain grip her
chest. She described the pain as if someone reached into her chest and squeezed her heart. She climbed out of bed and attempted to alleviate the pain by doing some yoga stretches but the pain did not ease. Instead, it radiated up through her jaw and down her left arm with immense pressure. That’s when she realized she was having a heart attack. She had to work hard to walk downstairs to tell her husband she needed to go to the emergency department.
Teri has soothed the aches and helped to mend hundreds of patients as an occupational therapy assistant for HSHS Good Shepherd’s rehabilitation services department. But this was the first time she had been on the other side as a patient. She couldn’t help but notice how much it helped ease her fear as each nurse,
technologist and doctor introduced themselves and explained to her what they were going to do to help her.
Upon her arrival at HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital’s emergency department, it was quickly confirmed that Teri was having a heart attack. Teri was fearful that she was going to die but she remembers how comforting radiology technologist Timmerle Schole calmed her with a soothing touch and words. She said Timmerle’s compassion came through to her in every way.
“You have had a heart attack but you are in good hands, and you are going to be alright,” Timmerle told her.
Teri recalls how quickly and efficiently she was treated by the emergency responding team. An IV was
started, medications administered, and it was determined that she would be transported to HSHS St. John’s Hospital in Springfield for further treatment. The helicopter was paged, but the weather was unfit for it to fly, so she was transported by ambulance. She recalls arriving in Springfield and being greeted by four nurses.
“They were beautiful and glowing. I could see compassion written all over their faces. One nurse smiled and said, ‘I’m Mary, and you’re going to remember my name because I am going to ease your pain.’ The second nurse introduced herself and said, ‘You are going to remember my name because I am going give you warm blankets.’ Each nurse introduced herself and made me feel cared for and eased my anxiety,” Teri said.
Prairie Cardiovascular cardiologist Nilesh Goswami, MD, also made Teri feel more confident and reduced her fear.
“When it comes to heart health, every second counts, and it’s important to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack,” Dr. Goswami said. “Crushing or squeezing chest pain is a classic sign of a cardiac event. But the pain may also radiate to either or both of your arms, neck, jaw or back. Shortness of breath is a common sign of a heart attack or congestive heart failure.”
Teri was treated for seven blocked arteries, and she found that an aortic spasm caused her heart attack. She is doing what she does best again thanks to the care she received at HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital and HSHS St. John’s Hospital. She is grateful for everything that each person who touched her care that night did.
“It is cases like Teri’s that make our local care so important as well as our partnership with St. John’s,”
said Kristina Berg, FNP, HSHS Good Shepherd Family Health affiliated with HSHS Medical Group.
About HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital
Since its inception in 1916, HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital in Shelbyville (GSS) has been dedicated to excellence in healthcare for those living and visiting their communities. GSS has accomplished this by providing comprehensive health services and meeting the needs of patients served through their compassionate care, business integrity and community responsibility. GSS provides a 24/7 emergency department that is fully staffed by physicians and highly-trained nurses, and also features inpatient and outpatient services, including a 24-hour laboratory and an imaging department that meets today’s highest standards for diagnostic imaging technology. GSS has an advanced surgery department and an acute inpatient care unit. Dedicated to being a hometown hospital, GSS’ home health and rehabilitation departments are committed to excellence with a team of professional nurses and therapists providing a variety of medical services and rehabilitative therapies, all designed to help patients heal in their own environment. The group of visiting specialists in the outpatient clinic works closely with GSS to help keep the healthcare services local even if a specialized procedure or exam is required. GSS strives to be the first choice for the community’s healthcare needs. For more information about HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital, www.hshsgoodshepherd.org.
About Hospital Sisters Health System
Hospital Sisters Health System’s (HSHS) mission is to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through our high-quality Franciscan health care ministry. HSHS provides state-of-the-art health care to our patients and is dedicated to serving all people, especially the most vulnerable, at each of our 15 local systems and physician practices in Illinois (Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Greenville, Highland, Litchfield, O’Fallon, Shelbyville and Springfield) and Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Oconto Falls, Sheboygan and two in Green Bay). HSHS is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, and Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the founding institute. For more information about HSHS, www.hshs.org. For more information about Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, visit www.hospitalsisters.org.