What started as a check-up for his wife at UnityPoint Clinic - Express in Morton, turned out to be a trip that saved Jerry Twedell’s life.
Jerry and his wife, Jan, had gone to the Express clinic to have Jan’s leg injury looked at. While the Certified Medical Assistant, Lauri Huber, checked Jan’s leg she noticed Jerry’s breathing was off.
“As I was assessing Jan’s leg, I looked over at Jerry. He had his head down and was breathing shortly. He wasn’t trying to draw attention to himself at all. He was very concerned about his wife’s leg injury,” said Lauri.
Lauri began asking Jerry questions about his heart health and learned Jerry had some problems the night before, and took some medication that didn’t seem to help.
“Some people don’t always present clear cardiac issues. I noticed his labored breathing and that’s when I decided something could be wrong,” says Lauri.
That’s when Lauri alerted her colleagues: Angela Golby, MD, Ronda Whisler, BSN, RN, and Clinic Supervisor and Medical Assistant, Amanda McCleskey. Breanna Smith, RTR, helped from the front desk, assisting the team behind the scenes.
“In a matter of 30 seconds, there were three other people in there working on me,” Jerry said. Ronda started her career in cardiac. She began an EKG and doing his cardiac work up. “Ronda performed an EKG on me and that’s when they discovered I was likely having a heart attack,” said Jerry.
Amanda tried to keep both Jerry and Jan calm during the situation.
“Being a wife and a mom, I understand being concerned with your other family members instead of yourself. I kept saying he’s in good hands. There were at least five or six of us in a room and we were just trying to make it work,” said Amanda.
The team worked together to maintain Jerry’s vitals until the paramedics arrived. Jerry was taken to the emergency department for evaluation and further care. There, physicians confirmed it was a heart attack.
“I guess it’s sort of a like a blessing in disguise. I didn’t have any issues until the night before. I’m glad that Lauri picked up on my health issues. God bless them for helping me. I really appreciate them,” said Jerry.
“We did everything we could to keep them both under care as a team. I couldn’t be prouder of how we handled the situation and that Jerry and his wife ended up being okay. It’s been a hard few years and having something like this happen makes you realize what we’re here for –and that’s to help people,” said Amanda.
Lauri says she’s glad Jerry and Jan came in when they did. “We were here at the right time. We are grateful that they came in for help at the time that they did. We were able to care for both of them and they’re both getting back up on their feet to take care of themselves.”
Jerry says the UnityPoint Clinic - Express in Morton called a few days later to check on him to see how he was doing. “UnityPoint Health made the effort to follow up on how I was feeling. That meant a lot,” says Jerry.
Lauri says following up with patients is just as important as seeing them in the clinic. “It’s important that patients get extra care, and we follow up with them. That’s why we’re here. We’re here to take care of you.”
Jerry and his wife are both recovering with smiles and some physical therapy.
“Thank God for the nurses and the staff at UnityPoint. They saved my life.”
If you or a loved one are experiencing a heart emergency, call 911 immediately or go to the nearest emergency department. For non-emergencies, establish care with an expert primary care provider by visiting unitypoint.org, or find a walk-in care location near you.