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Kate Castner, RN

Piedmont Athens Regional

Kate Castner and her patient are living proof it pays to listen to your gut instinct.

Last August, on a typically busy day in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit at Piedmont-Athens Regional, Kate was assigned a patient who was just out of gall bladder surgery.

After monitoring him for 45 minutes, she was given the go-ahead to move him to a room.

The patient had said he was experiencing right shoulder pain and chest tightness, common complaints after laparoscopic surgery. And Kate “just didn’t feel comfortable.”

“Something just clicked in my head,” she said. “It could be his gall bladder. But I knew he had a cardiac history with a couple of stents.”

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Kate contacted the anesthesiologist and shared her concerns. The doctor ordered an EKG, which showed a slight change but still looked “normal” to the doctor.

Kate pressed for a cardiac consult. At one point, four cardiologists were at the patient’s bedside.

One recommended the patient be taken to the Cath lab, where it was confirmed he was having a heart attack.

Stents were quickly put in, and the patient was able to recover simultaneously from both the gall bladder surgery and heart attack.

His grateful family “thanked Kate over and over,” said co-worker Tracy Knowles.

Kate said it made her “feel great, like I actually did something that was blatantly beneficial.”

“I know sometimes in nursing you feel you make a difference, but you don’t always get to see how you make a difference,” she said.

Tracy credits Kate’s “incredible training, clinical judgment and persistent determination to help the patient.”

“I am so honored to work with some of the very best nurses in the world, like Kate Castner, who never gave up trying to help her patient.” she said.

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