Baylor Garland Cardiac Catheterization Team Scores With Life-Saving Timing

The skills of the Baylor Medical Center at Garland on-call cardiac cath lab team - Valerie Darst, R.N., Tomiko Guthrie, R.N., and radiology tech Chad Teston, R.T.(R) - made the difference for veteran football referee Russ Hendricks. While officiating at the Sachse/Naaman Forest high school football game, Russ was knocked to the ground when a young linebacker accidentally plowed headlong into him. 

That sudden, unexpected blow caused a tense time-out as Russ was rushed off the field and checked out by the paramedics. 

"At first I was thinking I would shake it off and go back to the game," Russ remembers. "But the field doctor took one look at me and said I needed to go to the hospital. He knew something serious was going on." 

Somehow, Russ was hit in such a way that the blow triggered a heart attack-normally a rare event in a 48-year-old. The paramedics began treatment in the ambulance and called ahead to Baylor Medical Center at Garland, where the cardiac catheterization lab team of Darst, Guthrie and Teston quickly assembled. It was 30 minutes from the time the ambulance left the field to the time Russ arrived in the cath lab, where interventional cardiologist Dhirendra Shah, M.D., performed emergency angioplasty to open his blocked heart artery and insert a stent. 

"I don't know how they were able to assemble their team so quickly at 8:30 on a Friday night," says Russ. The cath lab team-Valerie Darst, R.N., Tomiko Guthrie, R.N., and Chad Teston, R.T.(R)-had everything prepped and ready to go by the time Russ was brought in. "Valerie was still wearing her softball cleats because she had been playing in a game when she got the call. That really made me feel at home," Russ says with a laugh. 

One of Baylor Garland's patient-care initiatives is to move cardiac patients through the emergency department and into the cath lab for interventional procedures in 90 minutes or less. With Russ, the Baylor Garland team kicked it through the goalposts; in fact, by the time Russ' wife Tammy had driven from Fort Worth to Garland, he was already out of the cath lab and in recovery. 

As demonstrated by Darst, Guthrie and Teston, expertise and teamwork are keys to positive patient outcomes. Baylor Garland's Heart and Vascular Center provides heart and vascular services including diagnostic, interventional, surgical and rehabilitation services. 

"In the cath lab, you have to be able to anticipate the next move," says Darst. "Often our communication is unspoken because we all know each other so well." 

Unfortunately, Russ suffered a second heart attack the following Sunday morning, but it happened while he was still at Baylor Garland. He was rushed back to the cath lab for another lifesaving intervention-two more stents. He was happy to see the same team was still on call. "They were a very good team; you could tell they've worked together a lot," Russ says. 

Russ had plenty of visitors during his stay, including the cath lab team whose members make it a point to check in and see how a patient is doing after the procedures. "We take ownership of everyone we treat, and I think maybe because of the sports connection we all just really hit it off with Russ," Guthrie says. "He was a great patient, and by the time he left he was like one of our own." 

"I feel great," says Russ, who is working out and anticipates being back on the field in March for softball season. He is grateful to Baylor Garland for his new lease on life. 

"I'll be dedicating my first game back on the field to the Baylor Garland cath lab team," he says. "They were fantastic!" 

Earlier this year, Baylor Garland received a VHA Leadership Award for Clinical Excellence, which honored health care organizations that had differentiated themselves around national performance standards by achieving performance at the 90 percent or above level on clinical core measures. Baylor Garland received this award for acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) treatment and surgical infection prevention. 

Baylor Medical Center at Garland, located in the heart of the Garland community, continues to grow and reflect the medical needs of its residents. The hospital offers advanced medical technology in heart and vascular care, neurosurgery, breast health, pain management, wound services, women's services, neonatal intensive care, digestive disease, medical imaging, senior health care, and physical medicine and rehabilitation on its smoke-free campus. Baylor Garland now serves the communities of Garland, Wylie, Richardson, Rowlett, Rockwall, Sachse, Mesquite and Murphy. 

For fiscal year 2007, Baylor Health Care System will report $390 million in community benefits to the Department of State Health Services.

Contact: Susan Hall, 214- 820-1817

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About Baylor Scott & White Health
As the largest not-for-profit health system in the state of Texas, Baylor Scott & White promotes the health and well-being of every individual, family and community it serves. It is committed to making quality care more accessible, convenient and affordable through its integrated delivery network, which includes the Baylor Scott & White Health Plan, Baylor Scott & White Research Institute, the Baylor Scott & White Quality Alliance and its leading digital health platform – MyBSWHealth. Through 51 hospitals and more than 1,200 access points, including flagship academic medical centers in Dallas, Fort Worth and Temple, the system offers the full continuum of care, from primary to award-winning specialty care. Founded as a Christian ministry of healing more than a century ago, Baylor Scott & White today serves more than three million Texans. For more information, visit: