Prairie Patient Stories

Stories inspire us. Stories help us feel a sense of connection with others. Stories are a part of something bigger than ourselves. At their heart, stories help us heal. We invite everyone to read the stories below and encourage our patients and their families to share their own personal Prairie story.

Marlo Purnell

Cardiac Arrest, Chest Pain

I had pain in my collarbone and a very heavy feeling in my chest like nothing I have ever felt before. I went to the local ER and found out that I had a heart attack at only 50 years of age! I was transferred to a different hospital, HSHS St. Elizabeth’s (it was a […]

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Victoria Weibel

Cardiac Arrest, Chest Pain

I was driving with my husband when I had a fatal heart attack. He grabbed the wheel and was able to bring us to a stop. A lady on scene performed CPR and brought me back. Paramedics then took me to Prairie Heart Institute. That was the luckiest day of my life. Dr. Jeff Christy […]

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Bobby Dokey

Arrhythmia, Atrial Fibrillation

New job jitters are normal. But imagine starting a new job with a new pacemaker – the first in the United States and second worldwide to be implanted using investigational technology to treat dangerously fast heart rhythms. That’s how Bobby Dokey started his role in disaster planning and emergency management at HSHS St. John’s Hospital […]

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Steve Pace

Cardiac Arrest, Chest Pain

When Steve Pace collapsed on the floor, his wife Carmen dialed 9-1-1 and immediately began chest compressions. She wasn’t certain she was using the proper technique, but doctors, nurses and first responders agree that her quick action saved Steve’s life, keeping him alive until the ambulance arrived. Inspired by the story of Carmen’s quick thinking, […]

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Jim Healy

Cardiac Arrest, Cardiac Catheterization, Coronary Stent

Jim Healy doesn’t remember much from his collapse at FitClub, but his wife remembers getting the news. “I got a phone call from the FitClub saying that he had collapsed, that his heart had stopped. It was going by then, but that’s not news you ever want to hear,” Coreen Healy said. Jim had 99% […]

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JoAnne Neathery

CABG, Cardiac Catheterization, Open Heart

I was in Florida walking the beach, and that evening I started feeling chest discomfort. Before that, I was experiencing fatigue and not feeling well, especially when I was exerting myself. I’d have to sit down, and then it would go away. Back home, my primary care doctor suggested I see a cardiologist. I went […]

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Blake Cowle-Healy

Cardiac Arrest

The last thing I remember is the end of the race. Right after I crossed the finish line, I went into full cardiac arrest. I actually heard myself hit the ground. The EMS teams and HSHS St. John’s colleagues that were at the finish line started CPR and helped to save my life. I don’t […]

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Terry Hart

Cardiac Catheterization, Chest Pain

I was at work one afternoon and felt a heaviness in my chest. I went into the clubhouse and my friend called 911. The paramedics were able to send my EKG directly to the team at Prairie Heart. I went straight to the cath lab and didn’t need to stop in the emergency room. They […]

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Melissa Williams

Aortic Valve Replacement

I wanted to take a moment and say THANK YOU to the TAVR team!!! They were outstanding on so many levels!  It all started in April of 2013.  My sweet father-in-law, Billy V. Williams, was having fainting spells and was later told it was related to his heart. After a multitude of testing, decisions had […]

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Theresa Thompson, RN, BSN

CABG, Cardiac Catheterization, Chest Pain

I lost my dad on Feb. 4, 2017, just 5 days shy of his 89th birthday. As a child I always saw my dad as invincible. He was my protector, my life coach, my hero!! As an adult, I realized he may not always be around but I knew as long as he walked this […]

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Gail Wolfe

CABG, Cardiac Catheterization, Chest Pain, Coronary Stent

I had my first heart attack at age 35 on Labor Day of 1978. I was taken to Decatur Memorial Hospital with very bad chest pain, but eventually sent to St. John’s in Springfield. Dr. Dove became my cardiologist at that time. He found several blockages and put in two stents. At the time, Dr. […]

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Steve Larson

Cardiac Catheterization, Chest Pain, Coronary Stent

After losing my wife and best friend, Paula of 34 years to pancreatic cancer, I continued my lifestyle as an avid runner. Running was the one thing that helped me find some needed relief from my grief. I started experiencing chest pain as I ran. It stopped me. I chalked the chest pain up to […]

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Chuck Heminghous

Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (A-Fib) is an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. At least 2.7 million Americans are living with AFib.

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Wayne Coventry

Arrhythmia, Hypertension

For several months, my blood pressure was running high and I was having some irregular heartbeats. I knew right away that I wanted to see a Prairie Cardiologist and Dr. Holly Novak was recommended to me.

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Kay Morris

Aortic Valve Replacement, CABG, Open Heart

"I’ve been a nurse for over 40 years and I always knew what to look for when it came to heart disease. I have always been very active. I love tennis and play almost daily. The only symptom I had was shortness of breath."

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Gretchen Peters-Hantel

Double artificial valves replaced by TAVR

The procedure, known as a double transcatheter valve replacement, was believed to be only the fourth of its kind in the United States and the first of its kind in the world to use the latest generation of artificial valves.

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How have the doctors of Prairie helped you?

Cardiovascular conditions affect more Americans than any other disease in the United States. It takes bravery to fight heart disease, and having a community of support makes a world of difference.

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