Jodi Whitaker

By

They Call It the Widow Maker

Published: Jul 18, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 18, 2013) — Vickie Rowe knew something was wrong as soon as she saw her husband on the front porch of their Harlan County home.

 

Bobby Rowe had arisen around 1 a.m. that summer morning to sit on the porch because his arms were hurting. Vickie found him there about 6:20 a.m. “He didn’t know it, but he was in the middle of trying to have a heart attack,” she said. Vickie knew the signs that told her Bobby was in serious trouble. She struggled to move her husband to the living room couch as she called for an ambulance. “When I hung up, he started having a heart attack on the couch,” she said. “He got stiff as a board.”

 

No warning

 

The day before Bobby had assembled a trampoline and gone about his day as usual. The 49-year-old security manager was accustomed to active work. He had a hobby of restoring old cars and had recently started to work on a ’63 Impala. Asked if he had any hint of the heart attack to come, he could think of none. Bobby did not care for doctors, so he had not been to one. Both of his parents had had heart disease. Later he would discover that in addition to a family history of heart disease, he also suffered from undiagnosed diabetes, which had silently damaged his heart.

 

Multiple cardiac arrests

 

Dr. Nageswara Rao Podapati, a cardiologist working at Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center, later told Vickie that what Bobby experienced that morning at home was the major myocardial infarction, or heart attack. “He said it was the widow maker,” remembered Vickie. It was close to being just that. Bobby suffered several more cardiac arrests during the ordeal June 25, 2012. Rao Podapati was in the process of placing stents to open the blocked arteries when Bobby went into cardiopulmonary arrest, as others on the medical team at Hazard ARH performed chest compressions. A heart attack may or may not cause cardiopulmonary arrest, which is when the heart stops pumping blood to the body’s organs. As the heart stops, breathing may stop completely.

 

Dr. Hassan Reda, a UK cardiothoracic surgeon, was called into the room. Reda and Dr. Michael Sekela of the UK Gill Heart Institute, provide coverage for their colleague Dr. Edward Setser, UK cardiothoracic surgeon who is based in Hazard. Reda was in the hospital providing outreach service on one of the rare weekends when Setser was out of town. Reda recalls rushing into the room where Rowe was being treated.

 

“His heart was failing as the pump that pumps the blood through his body. Basically, he died,” Reda said of the patient’s condition at this point.

 

The stents were key, he said, because “unless you get blood to the heart, there is no hope of recovering the heart.” “He reached the limit to where we decided there was no hope; we could not bring him back,” Reda remembered. But then he noticed a slight trace of blood pressure offering a sliver of hope. Reda urged the team to continue.

 

Vickie was waiting alone nearby, while the team had been working to resuscitate Bobby for more than an hour. At one point Reda had come to tell Vickie that he would like to call a chaplain for her.

 

“I don’t need a chaplain. I just need my Bobby,” she said of her husband of 30 years.

 

When the heart needs assistance

 

Stents alone were not enough; Bobby also needed a balloon pump. A balloon pump is placed in the aorta to augment the functioning of the heart, said Dr. Charles L. Campbell, a UK cardiologist.

 

“It’s not a great source of cardiac output, but it’s a pretty good source to help the heart have some output,” Campbell said. He was part of the team treating Bobby after he was transferred to UK Chandler Hospital. Campbell said Bobby was lucky the cardiologist in Hazard was able to put in the stents and balloon pump so quickly. Each attack damages the heart, and Bobby had had several.

 

The doctors needed to implant stents to restore the blood flow to Bobby’s heart, which would stop the heart attacks. The balloon pump was needed to help Bobby’s damaged heart supply blood to his five-foot, 10-inch frame.

 

Bringing cardiac expertise closer to the patients

 

The Gill Heart Institute’s outreach service is designed to support the efforts in local hospitals, so physicians in areas of the state farther from specialized medical care have another source of support in difficult situations like this one.

 

“It’s a goal of our practice that local hospitals survive and thrive and that we provide the support for things they can’t provide,” Campbell said.

 

Bobby spent a few days at the Hazard ARH hospital before being transferred to the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit (CTICU) at UK HealthCare in Lexington. He was in an induced coma and on a ventilator – a device that breathes for the patient. Bobby remembers that his arms hurt, and then does not remember anything else until he woke up in the hospital in Lexington, where he stayed for two months.

 

“We just took our time,” said Campbell, “and we were able to wean the balloon pumps and all the various other pumps away and then transition him to a more straightforward approach to his management.”

 

Campbell credits the nursing staff in the CTICU with doing the little things to make those transitions easier. Vickie Rowe said the team of providers were all a part of having her husband alive today, but particularly remembered the contribution of nurse Justin Davis as having a major impact. “He watched over Bobby like a chicken hawk,” Vickie said of Davis. “He would not let anything happen to him.”

 

Davis was nearing the end of his six-month orientation as a new critical care nurse at UK when he took Bobby Rowe as a patient. He remembers the dire condition Bobby was in when he arrived at UK. As a new ICU nurse, he said the expertise of veteran nurses helped him in this case. But he also tries to take cues from the patient.

 

“It’s always patients first,” he said of his philosophy of care. “The patient comes first, and teamwork is key there.” He also knows the family member who accompanies the patient to the hospital is going through a lot, especially if she is a long way from home and staying at the hospital, as was the case with Vickie Rowe.

 

While Bobby may have limits to what he can do that he didn’t have before, his prognosis is very good, according to Campbell. He will be returning periodically to Lexington for follow-up care. His diabetes is under control and his wife has changed his diet.

 

“I can’t tell you how long it’s been since he had a hot dog or a hamburger,” she said laughing, and then admitted she allows red meat once a month. Vickie was pleased with the care throughout her husband’s time at UK and is thrilled with the outcome. “It’s sitting over there in the chair,” she said about Bobby and chuckles.

 

rowe2.jpgrowe.jpg
September
 
 
1
Last Day to Add a Class
Last Day to Receive 80% Refund
Suicide Prevention: Raising Awareness & Sharing Our Stories
Welcome Coffee
Game Show
Tue
2
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Wed
3
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Rosemary's Baby
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Pitch Perfect 2
Adjusting to College
Adjusting to College
Kickoff Football Season Grill Out
Thu
4
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Akira
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Whiplash
To Live in the Borderlands: A Household Perspective on Frontier Politics from the Middle Jequetepeque Valley, Peru
Fri
5
Go Swing Dancing!
Sat
6
 
Sun
7
Labor Day
Mon
8
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Ivory Tower
Tue
9
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Wed
10
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Selena
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Jurassic World
Adjusting to College
Terrace Time Out
Thu
11
The Late Night Film Series Presents - The Great Beauty
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Predator
Friday Swing Dance Lessons - Free!
Friday Swing Dance Lessons - Free!
Accounting Internship & Career Fair
Fri
12
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Sculptors On Paper
Swing Dance Lessons - Free
Sat
13
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Sun
14
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Kentucky Law Schools Forum
Outdoor Installation
Wildcat Wellness Expressions - Superhero
Mon
15
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Outdoor Installation
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
Women's Forum Board Meeting
Southern Sirens Concert
Tue
16
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Outdoor Installation
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Wed
17
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Outdoor Installation
Adjusting to College
Thu
18
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Outdoor Installation
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Dark Girls
The Late Night Film Series Presents - The Pokémon Movie
LexPhil Pre-Concert Buffet
Curator Tour with Stuart Horodner
Fri
19
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Swing Dance Lessons - Free
Sat
20
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
LexHop
Sun
21
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Expressions - Finger Painting
Mon
22
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
Tue
23
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Last Day to Receive 50% Refund
Thank-A-Donor Day
2 Day Business Internship & Career Fair
Pinterest Party I
Wed
24
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
2 Day Business Internship & Career Fair
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Wild Tales
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Mad Max: Fury Road
Adjusting to College
Thu
25
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
The Late Night Film Series Presents - All.I.Can
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Nightcrawler
Fri
26
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Paint the Town Blue/Banner Competition
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Swing Dance Lessons - Free
Swing Dance Lessons - Free
Arts Writing Workshop
Sat
27
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Paint the Town Blue/Banner Competition
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Sun
28
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Paint the Town Blue/Banner Competition
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wildcat Wellness Expressions - Mandala
Mon
29
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Kitty Karnival
Tue
30
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wed
 
 
 
Sep 01
Last Day to Add a Class 09/01/2015

Tue, 09/01/2015

Repeats every week until Wed Dec 09 2015 except Wed Nov 25 2015.
Wed, 09/02/2015

Repeats every week until Thu Dec 10 2015 except Thu Nov 26 2015.
Thu, 09/03/2015

Reset Page