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Forbes Heart and Vascular Center

Patient Stories

Patient Story: Kevin Bennett

It Can’t be my Heart at 44

Kevin Bennett had been having minor chest pain for about a month but didn't tell his wife, Brenda, because he didn’t want to believe it was worth the worry. After all, this 44-year-young six-foot-four-inch man was able to operate heavy equipment all day for Dominion and return home to work his cattle farm in Palestine, West Virginia until 10:30 p.m. every night. "You just think it is your age or whatever," said Kevin. "You don't want to believe it's your heart."

In May, Dominion scheduled Kevin for training in the McKeesport area of Pittsburgh, a four hour ride from his farm. Kevin considers that assignment something that saved his life.

While in the training session, the severity of his chest pain erupted and traveled down both arms. At that point he knew he was in trouble and asked the trainer to take him to an emergency room. The trainer brought him to Forbes.

"I will say that it could not have happened in a better place," said Kevin. "The people — the health care — not once did I question anything."

Kevin now chuckles remembering that at first he 'failed' every test he received — electrocardiogram, blood enzymes, stress test.

Dr. Abdulrab Aziz performed a heart catheterization on Kevin in the Ed Dardanell Heart and Vascular Center but a stent could not open the coronary arteries.

"When they told me they were going to have to open me up it concerned me a little," said Kevin, "but I knew I was in the right place."

Brenda, on the other hand was scared. "I felt like I had been hit by a truck," she remembered. Their two teenage daughters, Kaitlin and Karly were "really scared."

Family and friend support for Kevin was not in short order. All the members of the training class visited him throughout his stay. Dominion accommodated the Bennetts as well as 15 extended family members at a local hotel for his surgery and recovery.

Kevin had a collection of friends among the hospital staff too such as his dietary specialist and his cardiovascular intensive care nurse. Nurses from the Emergency Room and Telemetry unit stopped by to check on him. A custodian from the night shift made a special visit every evening.

"You can tell the people are sincere."

"The staff weren't only concerned about Kevin’s well being but our whole family," added Brenda.

Dr. Michael Culig performed Kevin’s Coronary Artery Bypass Graft surgery (CABG.)

"He was very comforting when he talked to us," Kevin said. "He said he had done several thousand of these."

What impressed Kevin the most was that every morning a team of doctors and other professionals would meet in his cardiovascular intensive care room to address any problems, including him as part of the process. The problem was worked out before they left the room.

"You know those call buttons?" he said. "You don't need them."

Four days after the surgery Kevin went home. Two months later he was back to work. Cardiac rehabilitation was not an issue. Tending to heavy duty work by day and 200 acres and 42 cattle by night was enough.

"I feel better than I have for a long time."

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