Heart Disease comes in many sizes, ages, and faces. Meet some of our patients and read or watch their stories:


While waiting for a heart transplant, Eddie Gunter received a heart pump from Palmetto Health Heart Hospital that enabled him to breathe easier and take walks again.

 Richard Starling

Richard Starling felt his heart was pounding out of control and checked himself into Palmetto Health Richland's ER. New CryoAblation technology has given him the help he needed.


Although she was told her illness was likely the result of a viral infection, it turned out that Carolyn Brown had a hole in her heart.


Ken Carlson knew his family health history could be working against him. That's when he decided to ask his physician about preventive heart screening tests.


Inman Dorty had symptoms were written off as common pregnancy ailments. It turned out to be something much more serious.

Tom Hill

Palmetto Health Heart Hospital patient Tom Hill says he was treated like family after suffering a heart attack and receiving record-breaking care.


Keith Rucker, a South Carolina Fire Academy instructor remembers leaving for work but none of the events that followed. He is a walking miracle thanks to the care provided by Palmetto Health Heart Hospital.


Normal vital signs and EKG results left Vanessa Taylor concerned about what was really wrong. The Heart Hospital had the answers.

I just wanted to pass along a very large thank you to all of the staff at the Heart Hospital. My mother-in-law Jean had a wonderful experience! The facility is so nice, clean, bright and run by the greatest people. The nursing staff is top notch and attended to Jean's every need. Dr. Hollins was wonderful too! Dr. Lyndsay was terrific and answered all of our many questions. He was always just a phone call away, making our anxiety level ease! Jean is at a rehabilitation hospital now trying to recover from her stroke which was caused by serious heart problems. Although we have a long way to go we feel so fortunate to have received such superb care at Palmetto Health.  We are very lucky to have such an outstanding hospital in our community.
Thank you,

Rebecca Best

I was a patient in the Hartwell Suite (Room 6053) from August 30th until Sept. 6th and I wish to commend the nurses and other staff for the the treatment and care that I received. They went out of their way to ensure, as much as possible under the circumstances, that I and members of my family were comfortable and that our needs were attended to promptly.

I don't recall the names of all of the nurses that cared for me during my stay but I do recall Palmisa, Lynn, and Heidi. Their professionalism and their attention to my medical and emotional needs is to be commended. They not only performed their jobs in a professional manner but they also made me feel as though I truly mattered to them.

I sincerely appreciate the care that I received at Palmetto Health Heart Hospital.

Paul D. Sandifer

Millie Headrick

Millie Headrick has heart disease and had two stents placed in September 2007 at Palmetto Health Heart Hospital. She is a thin, fit woman who exercises regularly, taught aerobics classes for many years, eats right, and had no known risk factors for heart disease. Her first consultation with a physician did not result in aggressive follow-up.  She sought a second opinion which resulted in a correct diagnosis before she suffered a heart attack.

She has attended Cardiac Rehabilitation at Palmetto Health Heart Hospital since November 2007 and credits the knowledge that she gained from the program to help her recognize her symptoms and take appropriate steps to again avoid a heart attack when the stents re-blocked in March 2008. The problem was resolved with bypass surgery. She continues to be alert to her disease and wants to educate other women to be aware of the symptoms of heart disease.

I'd like to thank you for the incredible Cardiac Rehabilitation program at Palmetto Health Heart Hospital. Under the direction of Sandra Dickson and her incredible staff, this program may not have saved my life, but it has certainly improved it by making me stronger mentally and emotionally, as well as physically, and giving me my energy and my life back.
I am not the typical cardiac patient in the program. My diagnosis was "sudden cardiac death," my heart muscle failed, and according to the two school nurses and  the resource officer who revived me, with CPR and an AED, I actually died twice. I was given less than a one percent chance of surviving, less than 1 in 200 of not having brain damage. I had a defibrillator implanted. I was told I had a low ejection fraction (20 percent), and I'd be a lot "safer if you can get to 30 percent." I asked how and was told about cardiac rehab. In fact, the program made an immediate difference medically and my physician is amazed at the improvement.
I know that I am very lucky to be alive, and everyone told me I was doing well, but I was dealing with having practically no energy. Under the guidance of the wonderful exercise physiologists (Amy and Tamisha), and those incredible nurses, I immediately felt better just exercising and being in the program, and about half way through, I noticed a definite increase in my energy level. Lisa Akly, the dietitian, met with me individually, because my nutritional needs were different than everyone else's. I think my progress has been nothing short of amazing. I can literally do twice as much as I could when I started, both in and out of the gym. I know that I am much stronger, and I was telling Sandra I think I've reached 30 percent in my ejection fraction. While we can't confirm without an echo cardiogram, Sandra thinks I'm at at least 40 percent.
There's been another benefit as well. The other patients, as well as the staff, have all become friends. Sandra immediately introduced to fellow writers, so I felt right at home. The atmosphere is absolutely marvelous, and I have felt so much empathy and support. 
I think everyone should know about this program, and every heart patient needs to take advantage of it. Every single person, staff and patients, has been absolutely wonderful, and I think they've all contributed to my recovery. Maybe it's because they're "all heart!"
Francee Levin
Columbia, SC





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