Bruce P Cardiac- Bruce's Story

"I can honestly say I haven’t felt this good physically in over 15 years."

"So often I have taken for granted all the medical professionals I have seen over the years. But, a recent event has caused me to take a closer look at the incredible work that doctors and nurses do for us. Please allow me to share my story with you.

From the end of 2016 through mid-September of 2017, I had been suffering from severe gastritis, causing intense upper abdominal pain and four trips to the emergency room here at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Somerset.

It’s during that fourth trip where this story really begins.

Around midnight on September 11, 2017, the intense pain began again. I was feeling worse by the minute and at 5a.m.; I couldn’t take it any longer. I woke my daughter and asked her to take me to the hospital.

Normally in the emergency department, they would take my vitals at the triage station and then decide from there where I should go. This time was different. They put me in a wheelchair and immediately headed down the hall. The last thing I remember was sending a text stating that it wasn’t gastric…it was a cardiac event. My daughter told me that I remained conscious until they took me to the Cath Lab.

I didn’t fully regain consciousness again until October 3rd, 23 days later.

What happened to me over the next 23 days was told to me by my family. In the Cath Lab at RWJUH Somerset, the team attempted to place stents into my coronary arteries, but was unsuccessful. It was later revealed that I had one artery that was 90% blocked and all the rest were completely blocked. My heart was incapable of supplying enough blood to sustain life. I was in heart failure.

Knowing time was of the essence, the team quickly installed an Impella, a device that is placed into the heart through the femoral artery. The Impella continues to pump blood throughout the body in sufficient quantities when the heart is unable to do so.

With the Impella in place, and in a more stable condition, I was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick for triple bypass surgery. Being part of the RWJBarnabas Health system made my transfer seamless and I continued to receive the best care.

What eased the stress for my family, and they will be the first to tell you, was watching the team of nurses assigned to me, and how they worked. They were on top of everything. There was always at least one nurse that never left the room. They always kept my family in the loop on everything that was happening.

The first part of my journey was over and was a resounding success. I owe so many, so much. I can honestly say I haven’t felt this good physically in over 15 years.

People say I’ve been lucky, and there is no doubt luck played a part in this. Things lined up perfectly in order for me to be here today but I can tell you, it took a whole lot more than luck. It took new technology and those who embrace that technology, along with the combined skill of all the special medical teams that took care of me. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of what happened to me, how bad it could have been and how well it turned out because of their skill and compassion. I was given a great gift, being allowed to continue my life’s journey with my children, my family and my friends." - Bruce Perhach

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