Glenn Temple’s LRMC Patient Story

Thursday, May 12, 2011  •  Patient Stories

Glenn Temple

It was a week before Thanksgiving and a seemingly ordinary day to Glenn Temple. He was at Lowe’s® and about to head home when he started feeling chest pain and tingling in his arm. Remembering the warning signs of a heart attack he had heard on the radio, he was pretty sure that’s what it was.  But he didn’t think it was serious. So he drove home and had his wife, Karen, take him to Lakeland Regional Medical Center.

Lakeland Regional’s ER is a PCI-accredited Chest Pain Center with no waiting. Patients with chest pain almost instantaneously undergo blood work, an EKG, and if needed are taken to our 24/7 catheterization lab, where door-to-balloon angioplasty times are quicker than the national average. So when Glenn walked through our ER doors, he was immediately wheeled to our chest pain observation area.

“They put me on the table and did an EKG,” said Glenn. “The initial EKG didn’t show anything.”

At this point, Glenn’s mood was light.  He even joked with the nurse about playing the part of Joseph in the Christmas play at his church the following month. That’s when he blacked out.

Glenn was going into full cardiac arrest.  Within seconds of his collapse, emergency RN Alicia Henry and LPN Jessica Richardson responded with chest compressions, a respirator bag and defibrillator paddles. “We knew we had to work fast, because time is tissue,” said Alicia. Glenn’s heart stopped for seven minutes before a third shock with the defibrillator paddles brought him back to life.  Soon after, he was in the catheterization lab where they found three blocked arteries.

According to board-certified emergency medicine physician Dr. Matthew Shillinger, one of the medical professionals instrumental in saving Glenn’s life, “It was the special training and fast action of our nursing team that made Glenn’s revival possible.”

Glenn collapsed so fast, Karen, was still outside parking the car. “I felt like something was terribly wrong, that we had lost him. When they took me back to see him, I could tell by the nurses’ faces it was bad. But the ER team was remarkable…,” recalled Karen.

After a few days in the intensive care unit, Glenn was discharged.  But Glenn’s story at LRMC did not end there.

“The next day, we enjoyed Thanksgiving with our family. But that night, Glenn couldn’t get comfortable and ended up sleeping in a recliner in the living room,” said Karen. “In the middle of the night, I heard him yelling for help. When I got to him, he was pale and I wasn’t sure he was breathing.”

Karen called 9-1-1.

When the EMS team arrived, Glenn was breathing and he was immediately transported to LRMC.  Upon arriving at the E.R., Glenn’s heart stopped and started again – not once, but twice.  This time, he was taken to the critical care unit where he underwent triple-bypass surgery.

Karen said that the course of Glenn’s 20-day-stay at LRMC was heart-wrenching.

“Our doctor kept me in the loop the entire time. He put his arm around me and told me that Glenn was the sickest man in hospital,” recalled Karen.  “He said if we made it to 24 hours, then our next goal was to make it to 48 hours.  He was not harsh in the words he used, but he was honest with me,” she said.

“The nurses never left Glenn’s side, and they also took care of me during the most difficult time of my life,” said Karen. “The family care we received was awesome.”

In total, Glenn’s heart stopped three times.  But he lived to tell his story of survival.

“If I’d had this heart attack anywhere else, I wouldn’t be here today,” said Glenn.  They saved my life. There’s no doubt in my mind.”

Although Glenn didn’t yet feel up for playing the part of Joseph, like he had joked during his first day at LRMC, he did make it to the Christmas performance.  He wasn’t alone – as Karen sat beside him along with two of his nurses, Alicia and Jessica, who had cared for him during his stay at LRMC.

“I think he touched our hearts as much as we touched his,” said Jessica.