West Plains resident reflects on life-saving heart care received at Ozarks Healthcare

February is nationally recognized as American Heart Month, a time to bring awareness to cardiovascular health. For Elaine Plowman, this Heart Month is a special one. Thanks to the care she received at Ozarks Healthcare when experiencing a heart emergency last year, Plowman is celebrating the health of her own heart this February. On the morning of September 21, 2022,local West Plains resident Elaine Plow-man woke up not being able to catch her breath. “I will never forget that day – I felt like I was going to die,” Plowman said. “I had been sick before, but never like this in my life. ”Having just spent a full day of shopping with a good friend the day before, Plowman said her condition that morning came as a full shock – she had had no symptoms before then. When an ambulance arrived to Plowman’s home to take her to the hospital, she was told she might be having a panic attack. After arriving at Ozarks Healthcare’s Emergency Department, staff discovered her condition was much more serious. Dr. Curtis Horst-man, Medical Director of Ozarks Health-care’s Emergency Department, ordered a CT scan, and dis-covered Plowman had fluid surrounding her heart. Plowman was surprised to see Dr. Hussain Ibrahim, cardiologist at Ozarks Healthcare’s Heart and Lung Center, walk into her patient room in the Emergency Department. Plowman had been seeing Ibrahim for routine checks.“ When Dr. Ibrahim came into my room and told me I had fluid around my heart that needed to be drained, I asked, ‘When?’ and he said, ‘Right now,’ ”Plowman said. “He said he had his team and was ready to go. At that point, I was terrified. My nurses in the Emergency Department told me Dr. Ibrahim had done lots of these procedures. I just trusted him, and said, ‘Okay.’ Every-thing went smoothly, and I had a drain put in afterwards.” Plowman then visited Ozarks Health-care’s Cardiac Step-down Unit (CSU),where she stayed for a few days after her procedure. The exact cause of the development of fluid around Plowman’s heart was hard to pinpoint, but Ibrahim and her team of caregivers believed it was due to a viral infection. Her recovery was smooth, but took time. “During my stay, a nurse came in and told me I had A Fib[atrial fibrillation],”Plowman said. “I said, ‘What do we do now?’ and she simply said, ‘We take care of it. Don’t worry about it, we’ll get it under control.’ And she did. She gave mean other type of medication and explained the workings of the heart and had a lot of knowledge about the heart. She made me feel very confident. ”Now back to spending time with her husband on their property in West Plains, Plowman is back to feeling more like her-self. She is a strong advocate for health screenings and being aware of healthy fitness and diet recommendations. She also continues to see Ibrahim to check on her heart. “I don’t think I would have made it if I had chosen to go anywhere else, ”Plowman said. “Dr. Ibrahim saved my life.”

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