Ted Sherrod (left) recently visited Dr. Charles “Chaz” DeBerardinis at the Iredell Memorial Heart & Vascular Center to thank him for the role he played in saving his life after cardiac arrest.
Quick action, advanced care saved man on visit to Mooresville
Special to SVLfreenews.com
A day that started out like any other for engineer Ted Sherrod was very nearly his last day.
Sherrod woke up early on Nov. 6, 2017, left a note for his wife and was on the road before dawn, traveling to Mooresville for work more than three hours away from his home in Kenly, N.C.
That’s the last thing he remembered when he came out of a coma eight days later. He was speaking to a group of Duke Energy employees at the Charles Mack Center when he had a massive heart attack.
"There’s video of what happened," Sherrod said. "I collapsed. A Duke Energy employee performed CPR on me. Another got the AED device in the classroom and shocked me a couple of times until fire and rescue arrived."
Ted suffered the deadliest type of heart attack, a blockage in the left anterior artery known as the "Widowmaker." It can affect men and women and often causes sudden cardiac arrest.
Sherrod was 300 miles away from his home and his family when his heart stopped beating, but he was only minutes away from the advanced cardiac care he desperately needed.
Rescuers restarted Ted’s heart five times as they rushed him from Mooresville to the Heart & Vascular Center at Iredell Memorial Hospital in Statesville.
Dr. Charles "Chaz" DeBerardinis performed a heart catheterization to identify the artery blockage causing the heart attack. He then inserted a stent into the artery to clear the blockage and provide blood flow to the heart muscle, stopping the heart attack.
DeBerardinis is the medical director of the Cardiac Cath lab at the Iredell Heart & Vascular Center. He’s also one of the top ten interventional cardiologists in the state in the number of coronary procedures he performs.
"When the heart muscle is deprived of oxygen rich blood, there can be a large amount of damage to the heart," said DeBerardinis. "Utilizing devices like a stent, a blockage in the arteries supplying blood to the heart muscle can quickly be cleared. In Mr. Sherrod's case, the blockage was treated and the artery fully open within 23 minutes of his arrival to the hospital. The national standard is 90 minutes or less."
In Ted’s case, it became apparent to the cardiology team that the heart attack had weakened his heart muscle, despite the timely care. DeBerardinis and Tori Hudgins, PA-C, recommended placing an Impella device to give Ted’s heart a rest and time to repair.
"The lmpella device helps the weakened heart pump blood to the brain and vital organs during the period when the heart is actually failing," DeBerardinis explaied. "It can be -- and in this case was -- a life-saving device. I am extremely proud of the care our cath lab team provides. We are the only hospital of our size in the state of North Carolina that has the lmpella technology available for patient care."
Sherrod’s wife Janet was at the gym that morning, unaware of her husband’s heart attack until she picked up her phone and saw the missed calls and messages. Her husband’s department manager met her on the way to Iredell Memorial and drove her the rest of the way to the hospital.
"It was all a rollercoaster," Janet said. "Dr. Chaz was just very reassuring. He and his PA Tori came in multiple times to speak to us about his condition and what the next course of treatment would be."
The next morning, Sherrod was transferred to Charlotte to continue his care. He was in the hospital for a total of 20 days.
"‘There wasn’t a day that we were in the hospital that someone from our church wasn’t there," said Janet.
"I was just so thankful to God that I had all the care from the doctors, the nurses, my family and my church and that they had been able to save my life," Sherrod said.
There’s no good time for a heart attack, but in his case, the Sherrods say the timing was a blessing. If his heart had stopped a few hours earlier, Ted would have been on the road, driving alone. If it had happened a couple of days later, he would have been on a plane, going on a mission trip with his wife.
Since his heart attack, Sherrod has made some changes: losing 20 pounds, watching his salt intake, and slowing down a bit. He has an implantable cardiac defibrillator now, but he’s back to doing most of the things he loves to do.
In April, he and his wife journeyed back to Mooresville, Charlotte and Statesville to thank everyone involved in his care, including the critical care and the cardiology teams at Iredell Memorial.
"Even though he performed my operation, I had never met Dr. Chaz until that day," Sherrod said. "I felt like I knew him when I saw him. He made me feel so welcome."
Janet added, "As soon as he saw me, he said, ‘Janet, it sure is good to see you smiling.’ "
"It was so exciting to meet with the Sherrods months later," said DeBerardinis. "Seeing their happy, smiling faces makes our work all the more rewarding."
About Iredell Health System
Iredell Health System includes Iredell Memorial Hospital; Iredell Home Health; Iredell Wound Care & Hyperbaric Center; Community and Corporate Wellness; Occupational Medicine; and the Iredell Physician Network. Iredell Memorial Hospital is the largest and only non-profit hospital in Iredell County. The comprehensive healthcare facility has 247-beds; more than 1,500 employees; and has 260 physicians representing various specialties. Centers of excellence include Women’s and Children’s; Cardiovascular; Cancer; Surgical Services and Wellness & Prevention. Iredell Memorial was also recently named as a Blue Distinction Center+ for Hips and Knees, as well as Maternity Care, by Blue Cross Blue Shield. The mission of Iredell Health System is to inspire wellbeing. For a comprehensive list of services and programs, visit www.iredellhealth.org