Earlier this year, an ER volunteer at Summerville Medical Center suddenly found herself in need of the services she has always helped provide.
Grace Shorter was having lunch in the cafeteria during her shift on January 13 when several staff members noticed that she was slumped in her seat with her eyes closed. They immediately called a rapid response code as doctors in the cafeteria “sprung into action” to treat Shorter, the medical center’s director of public relations and communications, Kelly Bowen, said in an email.
Shorter has been a volunteer at Summerville Medical for 13 years, volunteering specifically in the ER. When many staff and doctors who had known her for years saw that she was in medical distress, they rushed her straight to the emergency room.
She was then transferred to SMC’s partner facility, Trident Medical Center, where interventional cardiologist Dr. Marabel Schneider placed three stents. Shorter was released the next day.
Shorter, now recovered and in her second month of cardiac rehab, said she thanked God her medical emergency happened at the hospital where she was surrounded by “her family” to care for her.
Now, she plans to use her personal experience as an ER patient to help calm the fears of other ER patients as she continues her volunteer efforts.
What she didn’t expect was for medical center staff to surprise her on her first day of rehabilitation, Bowen said. Dozens of doctors and other staff celebrated Shorter’s recovery journey on Feb. 21 by wearing red in honor of February Heart Month, carrying red heart-shaped balloons and carrying a special pillow for heart attack survivors signed by many of the team members who helped care for Shorter while she was in the hospital.
“I’m so grateful and blessed to have been in the right place at the right time,” Shorter said. “God – and my family here in the hospital – were watching over me. They care about me. They are all people doing their job. But they do their job with a bit more.”