Health First Solves Patient’s Cardiac Mystery Amid COVID-19 Crisis Despite Initial Concerns

By  //  June 28, 2020

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Patient Finds Top-Notch Care, Reassurance during Frightening Time

THE HEART CENTER at Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center performs more cardiac procedures than all other hospitals in Brevard and provides patients with all-private rooms. (Health First image)

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Janette Valentin was driving on Interstate 95 in December when she suddenly blacked out behind the wheel.

She veered off the highway, flipped her vehicle and was found unconscious. She spent the next five days recovering from her injuries at Health First’s Palm Bay Hospital.

Janette felt lucky to be alive – and was worried about what caused her to pass out. Fortunately, no other vehicles or people were involved in the mysterious wreck.

Health First doctors suspected heart issues might be behind her blackout, so they sent her to Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center for a small procedure to install a “loop recorder” – a small implantable device that can monitor the electrical signals of the heart.

It would take a few months to finally determine what was causing her issues. The answer came right as COVID-19 was firmly entrenched across Florida.

In early April, her doctor’s office called to tell her the device picked up abnormal readings. She was told her situation was emergent, and that she needed to pack a bag for a couple of days and head to Holmes Regional.

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“I really didn’t have much of a choice,” said Janette, who works for another hospital system and had just begun working remotely due to COVID-19.

“So, of course, when I am told I need to now come into the hospital, I honestly did feel extremely nervous. In fact, my first reaction was, ‘I don’t want to,’ but I knew I had to go and get this thing figured out.”

Janette arrived with her husband, frightened and not knowing what to expect.

“We immediately learned about the no-visitor policy, which, as a hospital employee myself, I understood,” Janette said.

“My husband had a really hard time at first. But the doctors and staff at the hospital did just such an amazing job of explaining their policies and preparations with us. It really did help to put our minds at ease during a very scary time.”

JANETTE’S CARE TEAM communicated everything clearly, always explaining why they were doing what they were doing. And Janette felt confident in the cleaning and sanitation procedures she constantly observed while a patient at Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne.

The associate who checked her in at registration “was very, very kind – he explained everything in great detail from beginning to end if I were to be admitted,” Janette said.

After spending about 10 minutes in the waiting area, Janette was brought back to the ER.

Soon, she had an answer as to what made her blackout behind the wheel in December – Janette’s heart had stopped beating.

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Janette had a pacemaker installed, which required a two-day hospital stay. While she was frightened, coupled with being unable to have her husband at her side due to COVID-19 prevention measures, the providers and associates did all they could to make her feel safe and at ease – and succeeded.

Her care team communicated everything clearly, always explaining why they were doing what they were doing. And Janette felt confident in the cleaning and sanitation procedures she constantly observed.

“Seeing the masks on every face, the constant hand washing, glove changing, it really made me feel better,” Janette said.

“The communication and policies to the visual of seeing the cleanliness made me feel not so alone, but in very good hands, and that everybody was doing the very best that they could to help me.”

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