By Tara Gary
Wellstar has unveiled its new brand promise to provide “More than healthcare. PeopleCare.” Although it’s the “new brand promise,” I have found Wellstar has always provided “PeopleCare” based on the individuals I have had the pleasure of interviewing, who have been and continue to be Wellstar patients. Success comes from continuous improvement, no matter if some perceive perfection has already been obtained. Wellstar continues to strive to be better—even when the patients I’ve spoken to are overwhelmingly satisfied with the care they have received. The commonalities of their stories include “world class and personal care,” “they seem as an extension of family,” and “I can’t say enough good things about Wellstar.” My most recent Wellstar patient interview was no different.
Brett Faucett woke up early one Thursday morning seven years ago. He was taking a hot shower when his left arm suddenly became numb and cold. He didn’t understand what was happening. He wasn’t experiencing heart pain. He said his arm started feeling better after his shower. His intention was to exit his neighborhood to the right and head to a scheduled out-of-town meeting, but his arm started going numb again. He remembered debating turning right to drive on to his meeting or left to the hospital, which was located twenty minutes away. Thankfully, Brett turned left. He said his chest felt as if he was suffocating, and thought, if only he could get one good breath. He contemplated pulling over and phoning for an ambulance, when the pain dissipated.
Upon arrival at the emergency department at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital, Brett suggested he may be experiencing heart attack symptoms. The staff immediately admitted him and hooked him up to an IV and an EKG. Twenty-four hours later, Brett was released. Upon first speaking with Brett, I congratulated him. He chuckled as he replied, “I had not thought about it that way.” My remark was intended as a positive reaction to his decision to turn left that day, had he not, he would no longer be with us. The EKG revealed his heart was 99.9% blocked. Dr. Salvatore Mannino, a Wellstar cardiologist, took Brett straight into surgery that day. His heart stopped for a moment, a stent was implanted, and twenty-four hours later, Brett left the hospital with no heart damage.
Not only did Brett praise Dr. Mannino and the Wellstar Medical Staff for saving his life that day, he emphasized the personal care he received. Brett could not express how well he was treated, how personalized he was cared for, and how following his surgery, the doctors were not only available to him, but two different cardiologists called to check on him. Does your medical care provider call you to check on your wellbeing? Not only did he receive excellent care, Brett was amazed at the amount of information he and his wife were given when they left the hospital on what to do next. They were given a diet to follow and exercise instructions. They felt educated and empowered, as opposed to going home and having to figure it all out on their own.
Two years later, Brett was on a Delta Air Lines flight, returning from a meeting in Raleigh, NC. He had played golf the rainy day prior and felt like he might have pulled a muscle or have the onset of bronchitis. Something was off, but it wasn’t the same feeling he had experienced two years prior. Once he realized he was experiencing heart attack symptoms, he pushed the flight attendant button above his head, lightheartedly apologized that he was “that guy,” and informed the flight attendant of his condition. He said this was quite a different experience than the morning he had to decide whether to turn left or right. “The Delta crew was incredible,” he said. An ambulance was waiting on the runway when the plane landed in Atlanta. The passengers were alerted to the situation, and Brett was rushed to Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center. I wasn’t expecting Brett’s next words to be “it was a great experience… ,” but that’s exactly what he said. The doctors and staff were waiting for him to arrive. A vessel had blockage due to plaque breaking away and creating a blood clot, Brett explained.
Brett went on to tell me, it is now his mission to share his story with anyone who will listen. “I think of world class health care when I think of Wellstar. When they say they ‘care,’ they mean it. It’s personal, even down to my primary care doctor. At 39, you don’t expect to have someone holding your hand through cardiac rehab. It’s a scary, disorienting place to be, and they walked me through every detail.” Brett explained how Wellstar made his progress easier by mapping out everything, making the steps to follow not only easy for him, but for his family as well. “If it’s not going to matter in six months, it’s not going to affect us today,” has become his family’s motto. “I’m livin’ and lovin’ life. I will speak about Wellstar anytime, anywhere!”
When not writing, Roswell resident Tara Gary is busy making industrial furniture, charcuterie boards, and local art. Most nights she can be found with her friends at local breweries and pubs drinking craft beer.