Local News

October 20, 2013

Heart issues sideline hospital employee


“He has a key physical job, so we specialized his training plan to accommodate his needs,” Licensed Practical Nurse Kristen Dooley said. 

“We worked to strengthen the muscles around his heart.”

On July 8, Gumlaw returned to work on light duty.

“I’ve changed a lot,” he said in a recent interview. “I exercise. I quit smoking — I was smoking as much as two packs a day.”

He shed about 20 pounds and greatly improved his eating habits.

“I also have started eating a lot of fruit, which before I didn’t eat at all,” Gumlaw said. “No more drinking 12 cans of Mountain Dew a day with all that sugar.” 

ECH Registered Nurse Meredith King noticed the effect Gumlaw had on his co-workers. 

“They are also eating more healthy foods.” 


“What’s interesting is that Chris had been having symptoms, but initially ignored them,” King observed. “It’s important to go to a primary care provider on a regular basis. 

“Otherwise, he had excellent endurance because of his (outdoor) lifestyle, such as hunting.” 

“Telling his story allows ECH to communicate the importance of primary care,” hospital Director of Community Relations Jane Hooper said, “and the importance of not ignoring the warning signs.

“We are thrilled that Chris is doing well.” 

ECH, she said, “also believes that people should have easy access to specialists. This allowed Chris to quickly access the specialty care he needed after his visit with his primary care physician.”     


Gumlaw has supplemented his cardio-rehab by working out on his own. He said he walks a mile or more each day or uses the treadmill he purchased to support his self-care effort.

His determination has paid off. 

“I went back to work two months before I was supposed to, but still had cardio-rehab,” he said. “Actually, cardio-rehab is a lot of fun.”

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