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Steering Clear of a Heart Attack

Duane Cartmell

Duane Cartmell saw the signs and got help.

For motorcyclist Duane Cartmell, recognizing signs is vital, and following the rules of the road keeps him safe. So when Duane started noticing another kind of signal, he knew he needed to pay attention.

He began experiencing fatigue, feeling exhausted after just a few hours of work each day. Then he developed indigestion. "Eventually, I was taking medication three times a day, and nothing helped," he says. In fact, it kept getting worse.

Duane woke up one day with pain in his left shoulder, and he knew he should be concerned. "We went to the Emergency Department at Kettering Medical Center, but the initial tests showed that everything was fine. My doctor asked me if I had a family history of heart attack. Sure enough, everyone in my family had had one. My dad died of a heart attack. So they did another test."

That's when doctors found a 90 percent blockage in his heart.

"When they told me, I was relieved because the people at Kettering could help me. I go to Kettering because of the compassion of the staff, and I know I'll get the best treatment," Duane says. "In the ER, they were caring, and they treated me like I was the only person there. The doctors went the extra step by finding out about all of my family history and running the right tests. That made all the difference to me."

When Duane began to have chest pain in the hospital—the onset of a heart attack—he was able to get treatment right away. "If I had just ignored the pain or not gone to the hospital, I wouldn't be here today." Duane's message to others is simple: "When you start to notice signs, you need to see your doctor. I had put it off for a while. If I had put it off one more day, I wouldn't be here. Now that I've had treatment, I feel like I got my life back."


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