There was a good chance Vernon Roe would not survive after suffering a
massive heart attack in 1993. But the quick work of the physicians and
care providers at Iowa Lutheran Hospital, coupled with Vernon's
determination to live to see his first grandson grow up, enabled him to
"After I had recovered, I talked to one of the people who had helped
me in the ambulance," Vernon says. "I asked her if the ambulance had a
roof that let the light in because I swore I saw streetlights as they
were taking me to the hospital.
"They told me it didn't. But I know I saw them. Maybe it was an
angel. And if it was, I told that angel that I wasn't going. I was
staying right here. I was going to be around to get to know my
Now nearly 20 years later, Vernon's grandson is an adult and his
trust in the care providers of UnityPoint Clinic Cardiology is as strong as
ever. His initial care was provided by Dr. Amar Nath, M.D. and is now
overseen by Prasad Palakurthy, M.D. Both physicians are members of UnityPoint Clinic Cardiology.
Fighting a family history of cardiac issues, Vernon has had to rely
on the team at Iowa Lutheran time and time again over the years.
To date he has had at least seven heart attacks, a mild stroke and a
pacemaker implant, which has had to be replaced three times because he
has outlived the battery. Many in the same circumstance would be tired
of repeated visits to the doctor, but not Vernon.
"I appreciate all they have done for me," he says with a smile that
lights up the room. "Without them, I wouldn't be here. Lutheran has done
everything for me."
Vernon's father had a heart attack at age 47 - the same age Vernon
had his first heart attack - and died at the age of 50 after a
subsequent heart attack. Added to his family history, Vernon was a
three-pack-a-day smoker and had a strenuous job laying carpet. He knows
he is lucky to still be around, enjoying the company of his wife of more
than 45 years, Phyllis, and his seven grandchildren and seven great
"We get the family together once a month and that's nice," Vernon
says. "And my wife's family comes in from all over once a year for a
Phyllis says the annual reunion has become a tradition she is happy
to share with Vernon.
"I just feel so fortunate that he's here," she says. "He has been
very lucky and we are grateful for the care he has received at Iowa