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TheCath Lab is where miracles happen, where people get a second chance at life

I can’t catch my breath.


By the time my daughter brings me to the Emergency Department at PRHC, I’m gasping for air. I don’t know what’s wrong. But I’m scared.


In my 79 years, I’ve never experienced anything as bad as this.


The doctors and nurses at PRHC see the condition I’m in and immediately jump into action. An electrocardiogram shows that my heart is working overtime and there’s fluid around my lungs. The doctors suspect possible blockages in my arteries.


I need a procedure in the Cardiac Catheterization Lab to clear them. There are risks but I tell my daughter everything will be fine. I have complete trust in my cardiologist, Dr. Katy Shufelt. Plus, I’m not ready to go yet. I have too much to do.


Dr. Shufelt starts the procedure and everything is great at first. She confirms that I need two stents to restore blood flow. There’s no pain and Dr. Shufelt explains everything she’s doing. Then my blood pressure crashes and my heart stops.


My name is Francoise Anderson and in a moment I’ll tell you how Dr. Shufelt saved my life that day. But first, I want to thank you.


Generous donors made it possible for PRHC to build a Cath Lab 12 years ago and provide lifesaving cardiac care in our community. If not for the support of caring people like you, I might not be here to share my story with you today.


I’m deeply grateful for the role donors played in my care. And, I hope you’ll reach out with your support again today. Your special gift will help PRHC reinvest in their Cath Lab and equip it with the very latest technology.


It will help PRHC’s talented cardiologists continue to take care of our hearts here instead of transferring us out of the region when every second can mean the difference between life and death.


Back in the Cath Lab, my blood pressure suddenly plummeted and they lost me. I was down for four minutes while Dr. Shufelt and her team worked to get me back.


Meanwhile, my poor daughter was in the waiting room and she heard the Code Blue. She knew it was me and I can only imagine her fear. Thankfully, a staff member came to sit with her so she wouldn’t be alone.


Dr. Shufelt told me later she had to pull every trick out of her bag to get my heart beating again. But she did it. She saved my life and even finished my complicated procedure using a rotablator – a special tool, funded by donors like you, to help smooth calcified deposits inside the heart vessel walls so the stents can be placed.


Once I fully understood what had happened to me, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I’m breathing so much easier and have more energy than I did before the procedure. I can do my art projects and enjoy my family. I can’t thank Dr. Shufelt enough for saving my life. I have the chance to watch my great-grandchildren grow up, because of her expertise and the great care I received at PRHC.


But I’m not the only one who is alive today because of the Cath Lab. In fact, my friends at the PRHC Foundation tell me 2,918 cardiac procedures were performed there last year, including 885 stenting procedures like mine.


They also tell me that PRHC won’t be able to keep caring for so many cardiac patients unless they can replace the Cath Lab this year, meaning this reinvestment is vitally important.


Our community needs your help once again to make sure Dr. Shufelt and her colleagues can continue to save people like me. Not only will it keep cardiac care close to home, advances in technology mean better picture quality and resolution during procedures, lower radiation exposure, and shorter procedure times.


Now more than ever, I know how important our hospital is to our community. I hope my story will inspire you to make a generous gift today. Your donation will help replace our Cath Lab and give so many people like me a second chance at life.


With gratitude,

Francoise Anderson