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Heart Cath Leads to Life-Saving Surgery for LeConte Patient

Posted on April 28, 2016
Chris Tatum with his wife Rhonda
Tatum (pictured with his wife, Rhonda) says he is thankful for such great care through the physicians, facilities, and services of Covenant Health and LeConte Medical Center.

While moving with his family to the mountains of East Tennessee, Chris Tatum, 60, experienced chest pain, difficulty breathing, and fatigue. He didn’t know it at the time, but he was showing symptoms of an undiagnosed heart condition.

After completing the move, he made an appointment with Charles Bozeman, MD, who found fluid around his heart. Dr. Bozeman prescribed Tatum medicine and referred him to cardiologist Roger Riedel MD, at LeConte Medical Center.

Tatum decided to postpone seeing Dr. Riedel until after the holidays, despite experiencing sharp chest pain and exhaustion on Thanksgiving Day. At the urging of his wife, Rhonda, Tatum saw the cardiologist in January. And although Tatum’s tests came back negative, his history of diabetes and symptoms prompted Riedel to look further.

“He said for my peace of mind, and for his peace of mind, he wanted to do a heart cath,” Tatum said. The heart cath was performed at LeConte Medical Center and revealed blockages in six arteries. Tatum learned that he had been experiencing mild heart attacks for almost six months. “Dr. Riedel saved my life. He was the one who made the call, just for peace of mind, to do that heart cath.”

Because LeConte Medical Center is a member of Covenant Health, Dr. Riedel quickly connected Tatum with cardiothoracic surgeon Lacy Harville, MD, for bypass surgery. Afterwards Tatum began cardiac rehabilitation at LeConte Medical Center. “Oh boy,” Tatum says, “those people are wonderful.”

Tatum says he is thankful for such great care through the physicians, facilities, and services of Covenant Health and LeConte Medical Center. “The hospitals are just the best I’ve ever been in,” Chris says. “I’ve never had a bad experience.”

His wife agrees. “I’ve worked in cardiology as a nurse, and if I knew something was wrong with any of my family members, I would send them right to Dr. Riedel.”


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