Grateful patient thanks MCH for playing a pivotal role in saving his life.

Walking into an unfamiliar hospital can be scary enough, but walking into an emergency department, knowing your husband has just been rushed there with a heart attack, is downright terrifying. That was the situation Lake Arrowhead resident Kerry Nelson found herself in on August 26th.

She and her husband, Bruce, had become full-time mountain residents just three weeks before. They had owned their mountain home for eight years, coming up on weekends with the intention of retiring to Lake Arrowhead. They made the transition to full-time mountain living in March, when they sold their home in the San Fernando Valley.

After relocating at the end of July, the couple decided to build a small deck behind their house. They were working on a retaining wall when Bruce felt what he thought was heartburn. He asked Kerry to get him an antacid.

While she searched for one, Bruce went into the house, where she found him in pain on the floor. She called 911; the call was answered by paramedics from Station 94. The paramedics worked on Bruce to stabilize and transport him to Mountains Community Hospital. He stopped breathing several times. Kerry followed in her car. When she arrived at Mountains Community Hospital, she was greeted by Renee Limpus, RN and Education and Disaster Coordinator, who immediately took her to where Bruce was being treated.

“It looked like the whole hospital was working on him,” Kerry said. “I thought it was incredible that they let me in there to be with him and talk to him. They could tell he would react to my voice.” A sheriff’s helicopter arrived to transport Bruce down to Loma Linda University Medical Center. Because he had been intubated, Renee had to accompany him.

Kerry watched her husband being loaded into the helicopter, while Charlie Harrison, CEO and Gloria Fernandez, Social Services Manager, rallied around her. With arrangements made by Garrett Alamdari, Director of Quality and Regulatory Compliance, and Kady Fox, Nurse Data Coordinator, Kerry arrived safely at Loma Linda to be at Bruce’s side.

Bruce had a 99-percent blockage in one of his arteries and the team at Loma Linda inserted a stent. The day after Bruce’s heart attack and surgery, Kerry called to let Garrett and Kady know how well he was doing. “They were whooping and cheering that he made it!”

“I have recovered well,” Bruce said. “I am a very grateful patient. Mountains Community Hospital played a pivotal role in keeping me alive and getting me to a hospital with a cath lab. Without this hospital, we would have a whole community of people at enormous risk.”

Thinking back on that day, Kerry said it was amazing to walk into a facility where they knew no one and be treated like family. Having both worked in healthcare for a large hospital, both Bruce and Kerry know quality and agree that MCH is meeting the highest standards. “They do everything so incredibly well. There is a wonderful sense of collegiality here and they understand what they’re doing is really important.” “We are aware that we are taking care of our community – our friends, family, and neighbors. This sets the bar higher for us and it’s evident in the personal and compassionate care you receive here,” says Terry Pena, Chief Operating Officer/Chief Nursing Officer.