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Tim Ames (right) Valparaiso brought his sMatt Ames Chestertgrandsons Bradley 5 Ben 3 Center for Cardiovascular Medicine Porter Regional Hospital

Tim Ames (right) of Valparaiso brought his son, Matt Ames of Chesterton, and grandsons, Bradley, 5, and Ben, 3, to the Center for Cardiovascular Medicine at Porter Regional Hospital in Valparaiso, Ind., on Nov. 3, 2012. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 10, 2012 6:14AM



Tim Ames showed up at Saturday’s open house for Porter Regional Hospital’s Center for Cardiovascular Medicine with a small pad of gauze taped to his wrist.

That wasn’t his first trip to the center; he was there two days before, but not for a visit.

“I came in here Thursday with a heart attack,” Ames said. “They did the stent, and I came back to see where I was.”

When Ames arrived in the emergency department from his Valparaiso home, he was rushed in for testing that revealed he was having a heart attack. Doctors installed one stent, and Ames will be back in the coming weeks for two more because of additional heart blockages.

“I didn’t really know I was having a heart attack; I knew I had a lot of pain, but I didn’t have all the symptoms,” Ames said, adding he went home the next day. “I came back today to show my son. I just wanted to see the place.”

The open house for the center, on the west side of the hospital and with its own entrance, drew 200 people in the first hour. Many lined up before it opened.

The center opened Aug. 25 with the new hospital, but still was being finished. The services now offered at the center were spread throughout the old hospital downtown.

“This whole area was designed with patients and visitors in mind,” said Terri Gingerich, cardiovascular service line director, adding all of a patient’s heart needs can be handled in one place. “In the old facility, we were not able to do that.”

The center already is getting positive feedback from patients and their families, Gingerich said, adding staffers also are excited about its state-of-the-art technology.

As registered nurses and other staff members conducted tours and answered questions, Gingerich said the goal of the open house was to allow people to check out the center while they were healthy, and see some of the “scary areas,” where tests are done when they weren’t undergoing them.

“It’s a chance in a not-so-scary situation to see this complex environment and ask questions,” she said.

Ames said he didn’t really know what he was seeing when he arrived at the center as a patient. That, and the chance to see the staff in a more relaxed atmosphere, brought him back with his son, Matt Ames of Chesterton, and his two young grandsons.

“They did really good work,” Matt said.

For more on Porter Regional Hospital, go to www.porterhealth.com.



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