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Chuck Gerity - Heart Attack Survivor

  It was a warm summer day. Chuck had just returned from the gym and was looking forward to a swim. A familiar face in the community Chuck is a retired police officer and he now works as vice president of operations at Holy Name Medical Center. After his usual bowl of Cheerios, he began to get ready for a swim. It was then that he felt a strange sensation in his chest. Since he had just finished working out, he tossed it off to a muscle spasm. But the 'uncomfortable feeling,' as he termed it, didn't go away.

"I just didn't attribute the discomfort to anything related to my heart," comments Chuck. He had recently gotten a clean bill of health from his family doctor. He told his wife, Kathie , who happens to be a Mobility Intensive Care Nurse, what was happening. She suggested they get to Holy Name Medical Center. "I checked his pulse and it was irregular. I told him we should call 911," says Kathie. But Chuck decided to lie down to see if the discomfort would go away. "I thought to myself that I would just call some of the medics I knew in the area to get them to drop by and check him out," recalls Kathy. But she never got the chance. Chuck began to have a heart attack.

"He began to have a seizure. I screamed for my son in the next room to call 911. I pulled Chuck off the bed and put the old protocols that I had been taught into action. I struck him hard below the chest and brought him back. But after two breathes, he started to go back out again. I did CPR and thumped his chest again," Kathie recalls. For the third time, Chuck began to go out and this time, their son began working on him and performing CPR. It was then that the police arrived with a defibrillator. (It was actually one of Chuck's initiatives when he was with the force to have defibrillators installed in police vehicles.) Once they shocked him, Chuck came back and his heart returned to normal rhythm. "I was a desperate person who knew what to do," says Kathie. They transported him to the Holy Name Medical Center ER—the very place he had a hand in creating as the current Vice President of Operations. In just 10 minutes he was in the cardiac catheterization lab where the blockage in his artery was removed and a stent was inserted.

"I couldn't believe how my worlds had come together here," says Chuck. "These were my cops, using defibrillators I helped to mandate as equipment, paramedics from my hospital and an ER I helped to build." It seems like all the stars were aligned for Chuck on this day. "I was home, our sons were home, the police got here when we needed them to and we got into the cath lab quickly," says Kathie. Chuck has always taken care of himself. But sometimes, an occluded artery just happens and it can't be explained. He sailed through cardiac rehab and luckily experienced no damage to his heart muscle. Currently Chuck is back on track working out at HNH Fitness, Holy Name Medical Center's medically based fitness center.

After being through this experience, Chuck has a few words of wisdom. "My new philosophy is you can't take anything for granted."

Holy Name Medical Center's comprehensive cardiovascular program offers a wide array of preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitation services in both the outpatient and inpatient settings. Holy Name's multidisciplinary cardiac team includes board-certified cardiologists and interventional cardiologists, neurologists and emergency medicine physicians, specialized registered nurses and exercise physiologists, registered and certified diagnostic technologists and technicians, rehabilitation specialists, and a specially trained support staff. Holy Name Medical Center became the first hospital in Bergen County, NJ, to offer radial catheterization through the wrist, affording considerable benefits to patients for whom this method is recommended. The Cardiac Rehabilitation Center is a component of Holy Name's comprehensive Cardiovascular Service. Featuring state-of-the-art technology, a highly skilled staff of cardiac experts, and a comfortable, friendly environment, the Cardiac Rehabilitation Center's award-winning program is certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.

For more information call 1-877-HOLY-NAME (1-877-465-9626)