A Message from the Heart

The Deb Rose Story

The irony for retired Brigadier General Deborah Rose is that on July 27, 2012 she was driving home after attending a meeting at Stormont-Vail Regional Health Center. Little did she know she’d be turning around and driving back to the hospital.

When Rose felt a sudden pain in her chest, she pulled over. After a few moments she convinced herself it was just acid reflux and continued driving home. A few minutes later, she noticed her skin becoming clammy. Pulling over a second time, she began sweating and her left arm started to ache. That was enough to convince her to turn around and drive back to Stormont-Vail.

While she now recognizes the better idea would have been to call 911, Rose made it back to the Stormont-Vail Emergency Department in time for doctors to quickly confirm she was having a heart attack. Treatment began immediately. During a heart attack, time is muscle – the faster treatment begins, the more heart can be saved.

Rose and her family were shocked. She didn’t fit the description of a heart patient – let alone a patient undergoing a heart attack. She was healthy and fit, and didn’t have high cholesterol or high blood pressure. She had recently retired from the Kansas National Guard and maintained a busy schedule. But indeed, Rose’s heart attack was real.

Because stent placement was not an option for her, Rose was stabilized for four days until doctors performed a double bypass surgery to repair blood vessels so her heart could receive sufficient blood supply. After her stay in the hospital, cardiac rehabilitation at the Cotton-O’Neil Heart Center was the next step for Rose.

Rose was lucky in that she suffered no permanent damage. And she’s thankful for great medical care that’s made it possible for her to get back to what she loves – being active and swinging a golf club again. Mostly, though, she’s grateful for her life. “I want people to understand, it can happen to you. When you least expect it, it could happen to you,” she says.