Marta Burke | Emergent Stent Patient | Center for Cardiac Care

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Marta's Story

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Marta Burke, Emergent Stent Patient

Marta Burke of Tilton had two big surprises on April 3, 2017 — a heart attack and a half-hour ambulance ride to Concord Hospital.

Of course the heart attack was a surprise. Who expects a heart attack?

Marta also didn’t expect the ride to Concord, because the clinic where doctors diagnosed her heart attack was about five minutes away from Lakes Region General Hospital (LRGH) in Laconia.

Marta saw, first-hand, the benefits of a life-saving collaboration between Concord Hospital and LRGHealthcare. In the REACT program, the most serious heart attack patients who formerly would have been taken to LRGH or Franklin Regional Hospital are rushed to specialized treatment at Concord Hospital’s catheterization suite.

Within minutes of arriving at Concord Hospital, cardiologist Dr. Shahab Moossavi threaded a stent into a blocked artery, opened the major blockage and reversed Marta’s life-threatening condition.

“As soon as we went in, there was a whole team there for me,” said Marta, who is 66. “Everybody worked together. It was like it was synchronized, and that doesn’t happen by accident.”

The teamwork began at Laconia Clinic, where Marta went because she had not been feeling well at work that day as a substitute teacher. She explained that she had been feeling pain on the sides of her chest — like being pinched by two large clips.

Medical providers at the Clinic suspected, correctly, that Marta was having a heart attack on the spot. Immediately, even before her husband came inside from parking their car, Marta was surrounded by a team that began treatment and quickly ordered an echocardiogram to gauge how her heart was performing.

With IVs providing medication, the teamwork continued in the ambulance.

At Concord Hospital, the Emergency Department and Center for Cardiac Care teams focused on prompt treatment, but also took time to reach out, person-to-person, to Marta.

“Every person there introduced themselves,” she said. “It was very reassuring to have people do that. I felt special.”

Someone notified Dr. Michael Newton, her husband’s Concord Hospital cardiologist, that Marta was a patient. He greeted her on her way out of treatment. “It was reassuring to see a face that I knew.”

A few hours after walking into the Clinic in Laconia, Marta was comfortably eating dinner in her Concord Hospital room. After being discharged, she began cardiac rehabilitation at LRGH, also a part of the collaboration. The goal is to deliver the emergency treatment at the Center for Cardiac Care, then have patients return to their communities for follow-up care.

The community connection is important to Marta, because driving any distance for rehab would mean missing work. Now, she attends rehab sessions at LRGH before heading to work as a substitute teacher in Laconia. “I couldn’t do that if the rehab was elsewhere.”

Marta was moved by the personal attention at Concord Hospital that helped ease her anxiety. Because everything happened so quickly, she hadn’t have time to reach out to friends to pray for her.

“I looked at four people around the gurney when I went into the cath lab and I said ‘If you are a Christian, will you pray for me?’ They all smiled. I don’t know if they prayed, but it was good enough for me.”

Marta is grateful to the doctors, nurses, technicians and other medical providers who were there for her on the day of her heart attack and continue to provide excellent follow-up care. She appreciates that she benefited from years of planning, training and cooperation between medical providers who anticipated situations just like hers.

“If you are having a heart attack, you want to know all of those things are in place and close to you — not an hour away, not in some other state, because you don’t really have time,” she said.