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Care from the heart

  • Author: Doug & Tina Kriley
  • Date Submitted: Sep 14, 2021
  • Category: Cardiology

“ Care from the heart”

Doug Kriley woke up on March 16, 2016, strug-gling to breathe. Sick with persistent, severe influenza, his wife, Tina, was preparing to drive him to the emergency room when he collapsed. “The last thing I remember is the ambulance ride,” he says.

Doug was admitted to Butler Health System for respiratory failure. While doctors were intubating him to help him breathe, he went into cardiac arrest. Doctors then made the immediate decision to place Doug on ECMO, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, a machine that oxygenates the blood of patients who are unable to breathe on their own.

A hidden concern

He spent the next 28 days on life support under the close watch of the Pulmonary Critical Care team. But Doug’s challenges weren’t over. While he was on life support, doctors had found a second problem—a hereditary heart condition that resulted in the hardening of his aortic valve. After a period of recovery and physical therapy, Doug was back at BHS and in the capable hands of Dr. Hazem El-Khatib, cardiothoracic surgeon who replaced the valve in a TAVR
procedure, or transcatheter aortic valve replacement, a minimally invasive procedure done through a catheter inserted in the patient’s groin. Amazingly, Doug was walking and discharged the next day. A month later, in December of 2017, cardiac electrophysiologist David Schwartzman, MD, implanted a pacemaker—the final step to getting Doug back to his family on their small farm, enjoying his carpentry projects and spending time with his grandchildren and dog, Samson. From the doctors to the nursing staff, Tina says the BHS medical team helped her family get through the ordeal. “I just can’t express how caring they were,” she says. “From the physicians, respiratory therapists, nurses, unit desk staff and the environmental service staff, they treated Doug like a very special person, not a patient.” Doug adds, “I believe in BHS wholeheartedly. It’s the only place to go.”