Heartfelt Reunion: Patient thanks hospital staff that helped save her life

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- In honor of American Heart Month, Clovis Community Medical Center is celebrating by hosting a reunion between a local cardiac patient and the hospital staff she says she never got to thank because of COVID-19 restrictions.

"I was awakened at 3 am with severe pain in my shoulder rating down my left arm, I really didn't know what was happening," said Alison Ford, a patient at Clovis Community Medical Center.

Alison Ford, who is a wife, mother, and grandmother from Clovis, is describing the morning she woke up in horrible pain in June of last year. She dialed 911 and was rushed to Clovis Community Medical Center.

"I remember them taking me out of the ambulance, and then I don't remember anything after that. I was told later that I did code right as I hit the door," added Ford.

Alison was diagnosed with Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy, also known as broken-heart syndrome, but she still doesn't know exactly what caused it.

"Nothing had happened to me. They said it was brought on by stress, but I didn't have anything catastrophic that happened," explained Ford.

Dr. Alfred Valles, Interventional Cardiologist at Clovis Community Medical Center, helped save Alison's life that day by implanting a heart pump called the Impella CP.

"In order to help with the heart's function, to take over the pumping action, the impella device has been devised. It's a pump that has an axial sort of shape, is placed within the heart itself and it takes over function," said Valles.

During a ceremony at the hospital Wednesday, Alison had a chance to share an embrace and her heartfelt gratitude with Dr. Valles, along with everyone who cared for her as she recovered.

"I just can't thank everybody enough for what they did. I was able to be in the hospital for 12 days and I did not have to go to physical therapy, I went straight home, I didn't have to have home care, I didn't have to have anything," said Ford.

The event Wednesday was the first day that Alison was able to thank her doctor and his team in person. She was also able to witness her doctor receive the care hero award in recognition of American Heart Month.
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