January 8, 2013

CVPH employee survives massive heart attack

PLATTSBURGH — Monica Bernard had not been feeling well all weekend.

Now that she looks back at that Friday evening on Sept. 21, 2012, when she was planning to have her husband, Bruce, take her to the Emergency Department, Monica knows she should have acted quickly on what her body was telling her rather than brushing it aside.


“I got this really weird sensation from the top of my breast to my chin,” she recalled of that first symptom that something was not right. “It was like a huge air bubble, like I had to burp or throw up.”

By the time she and Bruce reached the family vehicle, the sensation had dissipated, and she decided not to bother with a trip from their home in Mooers to the ER.

“That Saturday, I was scheduled to work the weekend (as a clinical assistant at CVPH Medical Center),” she said. “When I was at work, the same pressure came back. I didn’t feel sick to my stomach, but the pressure was there all day. It wasn’t painful, just annoying.”

She returned home after her shift, almost pushing the annoyance from her mind, and returned to CVPH for her afternoon shift at 3 p.m. Sunday.

“We had a rapid response on (floor) 5,” she said of her duties that day. “I went up the stairs with the nurse and did an EKG (electrocardiogram) (on the fifth-floor patient).”

By that time, the pressure in Bernard’s chest had intensified, and she went to her charge nurse on the cardiac-care unit with a request to leave because of her discomfort.

“I told her it felt like someone was standing on me,” she said. “She said I needed to go the ER immediately.”

When Monica first started working for CVPH, she was an emergency-medical technician in the Emergency Department. She was very familiar with the process of treating patients in the ER, and that familiarity caused some hesitance in her decision to go there for treatment.

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