Throughout his retirement, Tom Ritchie of Metter exercised on a regular basis and managed to maintain a sensible diet, allowing him to lose 20 pounds along the way. Even though he seemed like the picture of health, Tom didn't know that his life would take a dramatic turn for the worse.
One afternoon, while working on the roof of his barn, Tom broke out in a sweat that soaked him from head to toe. All alone and having a difficult time breathing, Tom was able to call 911. He remembered that his mother-in-law had mentioned a new doctor coming to East Georgia Regional, so he asked EMS to take him to Statesboro. Upon arrival at East Georgia Regional Medical Center, Tom was met by Dr. Christopher Leggett, the hospital's new interventional cardiologist.
Results from Tom’s exam showed a 99.9% blockage in an artery known as “the widow maker”. Dr. Leggett immediately transferred Tom to the hospital's cath lab, where Dr. Leggett inserted a stent and opened Tom’s blocked artery.
Without access to an interventional cardiologist like Dr. Leggett, and a hospital like East Georgia Regional Medical Center, Tom would have been taken to a facility some 50 miles away - a long time to wait in such an emergency. Today, Tom Ritchie is back to leading a healthy and active life, has finished the roof on his barn, and realizes that heart disease can happen to anyone.