For Immediate Release: April 3, 2014
Almost a year to the day, Jack Sorensen returned to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center's Heart Institute. This time, he wore a smile, slacks, and entered of his own accord and on his own two feet.
Sorensen, a biology teacher at Atlantic City High School, had triple bypass surgery February 27, 2013 for severe coronary artery disease. It was a difficult time for his family who, he recalls, was naturally distraught about his condition.
Returning to the unit, however, brought back good memories for the former patient. "I loved my time at AtlantiCare – as much as anyone can love being in a hospital," Sorensen said. His nurses were all area residents, and AtlantiCare felt like home. Reuniting with members of his care teams was a celebratory event –February marks both the one year anniversary of Sorensen's surgery and his birthday – one he might not have celebrated, Sorensen notes, if things had gone differently. "The Emergency Team at ARMC Atlantic City Campus and Heart Institute Team at Mainland Campus were phenomenal," he says. "They saved my life."
Dawn Haynes, RN, cardiovascular intensive care unit, The Heart Institute, worked with Sorensen over the course of his post-operative recovery stay and was all smiles and hugs when he returned to the unit. "Having patients return – and seeing them healthy after such major surgery – is such validation for the work we do and the rapport we develop with patients when they're here. I was thrilled to see him."
The teacher's lasting message from his experience is one of education: heed your genetics. Sorensen was in otherwise good physical condition at the time of his surgery – even though his father was diagnosed with heart disease at the age of 57, coaching the men's tennis team at ACHS, exercising regularly and eating well left Sorensen feeling confident that he had nothing to worry about with regard to his heart health. Not so, as he found out. When he was having symptoms of a heart attack, a colleague convinced him that he needed medical attention.
The Emergency Center Team at ARMC City Campus evaluated him and transferred him to the Heart Institute at ARMC Mainland Campus, where a cardiac catheterization prevented a heart attack and helped him avoid damage to his heart muscle. His severely blocked arteries called for surgery.
"No amount of exercise or healthy eating can change what genes you're dealt," he said. "Know the symptoms of heart attack and heart disease, and pay attention to your family history," added James Dralle, MD, division director, Cardiac Surgery, The Heart Institute at ARMC. "See your primary care provider regularly, and follow up with a cardiologist if necessary. If you have chest pain, dial 911."
"I'm lucky to be here," said Sorensen, who asked the hospital if he could reunite with his care team. "I'm lucky for such amazing care – and grateful to have had such amazing and skilled people involved in my treatment."
For more information about The Heart Institute and other cardiac services or other AtlantiCare programs and services, or to find an AtlantiCare provider, call the AtlantiCare Access Center at 1-888-569-1000, visit www.atlanticare.org or find AtlantiCare on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atlanticare.
Jennifer Tornetta, (O) 609-569-7010, (C) 609-335-3446,
Betsy Woerner, (O) 609-748-7539, (C) 609-385-6361,
AtlantiCare is an integrated system of services designed to help people achieve optimal health. It includes AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, AtlantiCare Health Engagement, the AtlantiCare Foundation, and AtlantiCare Health Services. Its more than 5,221 employees and more than 700 physicians serve the community in nearly 70 locations. A 2009 Malcolm Baldrige Award winner, AtlantiCare was also included in Modern Healthcare's Best Places to Work in Healthcare in 2010. ARMC became the 105th hospital in the nation to attain status as a Magnet™ designated hospital in March of 2004 and was redesignated a Magnet™ hospital in 2008 and 2013.
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