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Sharla Bruce: You don't know when it's going to hit you. There are risk factors, but I have none of the risk factors. And you don't know if it's going to happen to you.
Rachel, RN: The area that we serve is huge. And there's not a day that goes by that multiple people come in. They need help. They need heart help.
Sharla: The pain moved up my, to my elbow. My chest started hurting, and it wasn't getting any better.
Rachel: There isn't anywhere else to go to get any better. There isn't anything else that can be done that we can't do.
Sharla: I didn't quite know what was going on. I just knew something was wrong. And coming to Grossmont was the only thing.
Rachel: So if you come here and you need us, we have what you need.
Sharla: This is the hospital I know. This is where I was born. Anytime I've had anything major, you come to Grossmont. In my mind, there isn't another hospital.
Dr. Kevin Rapeport, Interventional Cardiologist: In the emergency room while checking in she suffered a complete cardiac arrest.
Sharla: There's nothing else wrong with me. There's no high blood pressure. No high cholesterol. Nothing. There was nothing that would have said this was coming.
Dr. Rapeport: She was in ventricular fibrillation, so she had circulatory arrest and was not breathing and was pulseless.
Colin Ramsey, Manager of Cardiac Services: So we had to shock her, bring her back to stable vital signs, get her on the gurney and bring her to the cath lab as fast as possible. Once we placed her on the table, Dr. Rapeport did an angiographic study and found one of the vessels, one of the major vessels in the heart was completely blocked off. It was a stump. Dr. Rapeport put a wire in the artery to open up the vessel and then over that wire he passed a small stent and [inaudible] balloon, inflate the balloon catheter, inflating the stent and pressing against the wall of the artery, opening the blockage.
Sharla: It's just unbelievable to me and scary, especially when you hear how bad it was. It wasn't just minor. It was major. And then seeing my husband the next day when he walked in, he just started coming in, and he basically told me just don't ever do that to me again.
The scary thing is you don't know. And if it does happen, you want to know that there is a facility that can take care of you, that there are doctors and nurses that are trained in cardiovascular who can do an emergency stent, who can do whatever you need to do to survive. And you want to know that that's at your hospital.
Rachel: The demand is growing but the facilities aren't at this point. We have a huge population to serve. We need a huge area to serve that population.
Colin: On a daily basis we have a schedule on the board, which can consist of anywhere between 5 to 15 cases. Electric heart caths, peripheral studies, pacemaker implants and then in addition to that we have the emergent patients coming in through the emergency room with heart attacks known as STEMIs.
Cath Lab Technician: We use balloons and other devices to open the artery that's blocked, and that's where they get the door to balloon time. And the county standard is 90 minutes or less, and our average monthly times are usually around 45 or less. And our record is around 17 minutes.
Rick Bushore, RN: We're on the cutting edge of STEMI care in California. There aren't very many hospitals that do as many STEMIs or have as a good a record at doing STEMIs as we do. As we move forward into new modalities though, we're going to need newer, more sensitive equipment that is state of the art. And that's going to cost some money to do that. These things aren't cheap.
Colin: Since the money is provided by taxpayers for Prop G, the Prop G dollars pay for the structure of the building — the bricks and mortar. But if you were to turn the building upside down and shake it, everything that falls out is what Sharp Grossmont Hospital has to pay by themselves. So the equipment, the supplies, the tools and equipment that we need to do our job.
Rachel: I can't see inside their bodies, and I can't get inside their bodies to fix them. I need things that help me to do that.
Dr. Rapeport: We have to modernize and have new equipment, new cath labs, because we are putting ourselves at a disadvantage as a hospital and our patients will not have the benefit, and there will be a rerouting of patients if we do not build more cath labs.
Sharla: I would have died. That's coming from Dr. Rapeport directly. And that's just scary.
Colin: We have plans for the new building right here. We have four spaces for cath labs. We have three complete, functional cath labs with one shell a year. The multipurpose are here for endovascular procedures, and then two heart rooms. This is what we need to build. With the new facilities, everything is going to be one-stop shopping. It's going to be all right in the same department. The newer rooms are 700 square feet, so almost double in size. The patients will come in, have the treatment, be recovered in the same department.
Dr. Rapeport: And they're going to have smooth, streamlined care, and they will be afforded modern advances of cardiovascular care.
Colin: Philanthropy is extremely important with what we need to do in the cath lab. We're saving — we're virtually saving lives here on a daily basis. And we can't do that without philanthropy dollars.
Cath Lab Technician: And they know they're getting top notch treatment. Now they just need top notch equipment. That check could save somebody's life.
Dr. Rapeport: We, however, need it to happen sooner; not later. This is our hospital. This is East County. This is what it is for us.
Colin: Nobody's more important than anyone else. This patient could be your father, mother, sister, brother and we need to save their life.
Rachel: Thank God it's cutting edge. Thank God they have the doctors and the nurses here to be able to provide the best care, to be able to be the best place to practice medicine and to be able to be confident that where you’re going is on the cutting edge, is able to serve you, and bring you back to the life that you didn’t know you were leaving this morning when you woke up.