He Was Concerned About a Heart Attack, a Bigger Concern Than COVID-19

Monitor showing heart rate

In early June 2020, Dan Clark, 65, woke up in the middle of the night with “major” heart burn and a tingling feeling in his left shoulder, hand and arm.

“At my age, I was concerned about a possible heart attack,” says Clark, of Malone, N.Y., of his thoughts at the time.

When the tingling, ‘half-dead” feeling in his arm didn’t go away by the morning, Clark called his Primary Care Provider Bill Latreille, MD, FACP, at UVM Health Network Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone, N.Y. What followed was a rapid series of events that included in-person and telehealth care and left Clark impressed not only with the response of his health care team, but the hospital’s focus on patients’ health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’ve always been more of a questioner; a ‘what-if’ kind of person,” says Clark. “I was thoroughly impressed with the safety, the way everyone was masked and cleaning – and asking questions. It proved to me that our doctor’s offices and health centers are totally safe for everyone who feels comfortable enough to go in.”

For Clark in that moment – his arm still semi-numb and concerns about heart problems roiling his mind – in-person care was a must. “A phone call would not have given me the same level of comfort,” he says.

Dr. Latreille, upon receiving Dan’s call, had immediately contacted his office and got him into the health center to see Physician’s Assistant Rob Stout, for a rapid assessment of his condition. During Clark’s visit, he experienced the safety response to the COVID-19 pandemic firsthand, from pre-admission screening procedures, to masking, to the elimination of waiting rooms.

A short time later, Clark received good news: an EKG had discovered no problems in his heart, and his condition was diagnosed as a probable pinched nerve in his neck. Dr. Latreille, who had been seeing patients off-site at the time of Clark’s visit, called him about an hour later to discuss the test results and diagnosis.

Clark received a combination of in-person and telehealth care – and despite having served as a member of Alice Hyde Medical Center’s board for nearly 40 years, the care he received looked and felt like nothing the Malone native had ever experienced before – and he’s comfortable with that.

“These doctor’s office and health centers are not like they used to be – and that’s a good thing.” he says. “You’re not walking in there and sitting in a waiting room with 15 other people. It’s not happening. What’s important to me is, I got the care I needed, and I saw how seriously our hospital takes patients’ safety and comfort. It’s a very smart and safe process.”

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