Granite Falls resident LeRoy Peterson is grateful this holiday season for many things: his family, home and most of all his life. Just 10 weeks ago, LeRoy was in the hospital fighting for his very existence. From summer to fall and winter of 2011, his health has been a top priority in his life. LeRoy has been in good shape during most of his 72 years, but one October morning, his genetics spoke loud and clear.
LeRoy Peterson had a life changing experience. One morning he got out of the shower and felt dizzy and faint, grabbed the counter and felt an electric shock go across his chest. The pain was very intense. He told his wife he suspected a heart attack, but he wasn’t sure because he didn’t have the numbing pain that most heart attacks indicate. While they were on their way to the hospital, they called and explained LeRoy’s condition to hospital staff. LeRoy walked into the door to the Nurse’s station at Granite Falls Municipal Hospital and that’s when the Rapid Assessment Team took charge.
For over five years, the Rapid Assessment Team has been active at the Granite Falls Municipal Hospital. They provide a multidisciplinary medical team approach to quickly assess and treat a patient’s deteriorating medical condition. The team includes the hospital charge nurse, paramedic, respiratory therapist, MD, lab and x-ray staff. The Rapid Assessment Team members are clinical experts and models of efficiency and effectiveness. More than individuals doing their specific role, this team comes together and forms synergy by drawing on the strengths of the team to improve patient outcomes.
The Rapid Assessment Team evaluated LeRoy’s status almost immediately and starting attaching wires, tubes and taking the vitals right away. They confirmed it was a heart attack. LeRoy said of his experience, “I remember everything. The pain was so intense. On a scale of 1-10, it was an 11 or 12. At that time I started to pray, I didn’t want to die.” As his blood pressure continued to drop, the team readied him for transport to the airfield and for his helicopter transport to Methodist Hospital in the Twin Cities. “The staff sprang into action right away-like clockwork. They were so caring and reassured me throughout the whole process and told me that I had done the right thing by coming in when I did. Gene Hughes, the Granite Falls Municipal Hospital Ambulance Director and Paramedic, was by my side the entire time. Dr. Carter did such a quick read on me and he told me they knew what the problem was and they knew how to try and fix it. That put me at ease.”
When LeRoy Peterson woke up, he found out that he had 95% blockage on one side and 100% blockage on the other side of his heart. He was the recipient of 2 new stents. His doctors advised him that he would be on an aspirin regimen the rest of his life. “When I was at Methodist Hospital, my cardiologist told me that Granite Falls Municipal Hospital has a reputation for being one of the best rural hospitals in the state, I was so happy I had a team of specialists working with me from the start.”
LeRoy Peterson’s action plan when he returned home was to schedule cardiac therapy. LeRoy started working his therapy program at the Granite Falls Municipal Hospital with therapist Dennis Bauman and was working on various exercise machines twice a week. LeRoy finished his therapy session the week before Christmas. LeRoy said, “We are so lucky to have what we have here-top notch facilities and the best staff, from EMT’s to Doctor’s to Nursing. You don’t have to drive to get the personal care you need. When I got home, the first thing I thought about was all of the people who helped me. On the first day of therapy, I took the time to go to each department that responded to my situation and thank them. I am so proud of what we have here. They saved my life.” LeRoy Peterson’s great attitude towards his health is inspiring and reminds everyone to be grateful for the care available at the Granite Falls Municipal Hospital this holiday season.