When Kenneth Jewell of Spring City began experiencing severe chest pains as he was pouring his morning coffee, he wasn't sure if he was having a heart attack. Because he occasionally suffered from acid reflux and indigestion, he decided to call his daughter, a nurse, to check him out.
"She came over and as soon as she looked at me she said that we needed to get to the hospital right away," recalls Kenneth. "So we rushed to the emergency room."
Within minutes of arriving at Rhea Medical Center, Kenneth saw a doctor, who diagnosed his condition as a heart attack and administered what is called a clot buster, which breaks up blood clots and helps get oxygen to the heart tissue. Kenneth was then air-lifted to Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga, where it was discovered that he had four coronary blockages. Doctors there told him that if he had not received such quick attention at Rhea Medical Center, his heart could have sustained permanent damage.
"I couldn't have asked for better service than what I got at Rhea Medical Center," said Kenneth. "They got to me right away, and the staff was just wonderful."
Kenneth's wife Shirley, who was in Chattanooga at the time of Kenneth's heart attack, agrees. "The doctor immediately recognized what the problem was and treated him for it," she said. "They don't fool around over there."
In Chattanooga, Kenneth underwent an angioplasty in which two stents were implanted on his blocked arteries to improve blood flow to the heart. He is scheduled for a second procedure later in the year. Studies show that patients who receive clot busters within three hours after the onset of stroke or heart attack symptoms have substantially better recoveries than untreated patients.
"I go to a church where folks really believe in the power of prayer," said Kenneth. "My wife and I are thankful to God that He pulled me through. This is just one of those things that can happen to a guy, and all I can say is that I'm so glad I got the help I needed in time."