• Darrell Epperson, heart patient


  • Believing in the mission
  • Darrell Epperson was just leaving work last December when he started experiencing shortness of breath and chest pain. Even though testing showed he wasn’t having a heart attack, the team at Bristol Regional Medical Center and the Wellmont CVA Heart Institute realized he needed cardiac care – and fast.

  • Darrell Epperson photo
  • Read Darrell’s story

    My journey started Dec. 15, 2014. I was leaving work and started having shortness of breath and chest pain.

    I went to the emergency department at Bristol Regional Medical Center. I told Mike Mowrey, who was checking in patients, that I was having chest pain and shortness of breath. And that was when my Wellmont experience started.

    Mike immediately contacted the nurse and took me to a room. Within a couple of minutes, the room was full of nurses. They started the process for a chest pain patient. All of the tests showed I didn't have a heart attack.

    Malisa Overbey, a nurse practitioner with InPatient Consultants, came to my room and did an exam. She said she did not feel comfortable discharging me to go home, and she was going to admit me overnight.

    I was admitted to 3-West. Dr. Mark Borsch with the Wellmont CVA Heart Institute came to my room and did an exam. He advised I needed to have a heart cath, and it could be done the next day.

    I was taken to the cardiac cath lab the next day, where Dr. David Beckner with the heart institute did the cath. When he came in to talk to my wife and me about the results, I wasn't prepared for what he had to say. He advised that I was going to need open-heart surgery and five bypasses. Dr. Beckner and Dr. Marcus Williams, also with the heart institute, are the best physicians I could have had – they were absolutely great.

    The next day I was taken to surgery, and Dr. Williams performed the surgery. I was taken to CVICU after surgery, and was on that unit for six days and 3-West for five days.

    I will now tell you about the care I received at Bristol Regional. All the staff made me feel comfortable from the time I was admitted. Each staff member showed me they really cared about me as a patient.

    As an employee, I have always believed in Wellmont Health System's mission – we deliver superior health care with compassion. Our mission statement has taken on a whole new meaning to me after my experience at Bristol Regional.

    It's one thing to say you deliver superior health care, and another thing when you really do what you say you do. I have seen through the eyes of a patient that we do what we say we do. I can't understand why anyone would go elsewhere for treatment, when we have the best you can receive here at Bristol Regional. And the Wellmont CVA Heart Institute is absolutely amazing – I know this first hand.

    I would like to say thank you to the nurses in CVICU, 3-West, Cath Lab, surgery and ER for taking such great care of me and showing me they really care about their patients.

    Stacy, April, Mary and Caleb and all the others that provided my care in CVICU.

    3-West staff, Rhonda, Emily, Lindsay Cherry, and Rachel. Thanks to all staff on 3-West. Thanks to Desirea in Cath Lab Holding. She was great.

    Bristol Regional has a great Cardiac Rehab program, thanks to Peggy, Becky, Denise and Aundra, they are awesome. A special thanks to Craig in the OR for making me feel comfortable while preparing me for surgery and keeping my family updated during my surgery. My family was very appreciative of Craig for the updates.

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