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Responding to the Cardiac Needs of a First Responder

Posted on: July 21st, 2016


Retired Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department Captain Carl Smith Thankful for SGMC”They had a job to do and did it perfectly! I cannot begin to thank them enough for the job well done,” says Retired Captain Carl Smith referring to the staff of SGMC’s Dasher Memorial Heart Center CardioVascular Institute.

Smith didn’t realize he had heart problems. He was at a regularly-scheduled appointment with his primary care physician, Dr. William Tidmore when Dr. Tidmore heard something through the stethoscope that didn’t sound quite right. Dr. Tidmore ordered an Echocardiogram (ECHO). The results of the ECHO showed Smith was having valve trouble. His heart was not pumping effectively.

Dr. Tidmore promptly referred Smith to SGMC Affiliated Interventional Cardiologist Joel Cohen, MD. While listening to his heart, Dr. Cohen determined it sounded like a water hose gushing. Blood was not running through his heart like it should. Dr. Cohen immediately referred Smith to SGMC’s CardioVascular Institute to see Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Randall Brown, MD. Dr. Brown listened to Smith’s heart, reviewed his test results, and drew an illustration of the problem on the paper covering the exam table.

“Dr. Brown explained that I needed to have heart surgery to correct the valve problem. He said I would eventually start passing out and they might not be able to revive me,” says Smith. After talking with Dr. Brown about what would happen during the surgery, Smith felt at ease. “I felt like God led me to Dr. Brown and the team at Dasher,” said Smith. He had open heart surgery on Monday, August 17 and was up walking the next day.

The physicians and staff kept Smith’s family updated during and after surgery. Smith believes he healed as well as he did because his heart surgery was performed close to home, with family and friends by his side. Due to some complications from severe coughing, Smith had an extended recovery. “The staff treated me like a king and my family like royalty during my recovery at SGMC,” says Smith. Smith urges the community to have confidence coming to South Georgia Medical Center for any cardiac procedure or surgery.

“The entire team at Dasher has a goal to get you living again and that is just what they did for me. They saved my life!” says Smith. Since his release from the hospital, Smith has participated in SGMC’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program. Cardiac rehabilitation is a program designed to promote and improve the fitness, energy levels and sense of well-being in people with various forms of cardiovascular disease.

“You have to get your heart back to where it is pumping correctly. Those ladies (nurses) in Cardiac Rehab have done just that,” said Smith. “I encourage everyone that has the chance to participate in Cardiac Rehab. It was a game changer for me.”