From the Heart: George
“I worked as a welder at GE, and I was doing a job at the time. I had my shield down, and all of a sudden, I started sweating profusely and had extreme pressure in my chest, like an elephant was standing on it. My left arm then went numb,” says George McCloskey, former mayor and resident of Norwood, Pa., recalling the day of his cardiac event in 1987.
McCloskey was rushed to Taylor Hospital’s Emergency Department, where Crozer-Keystone cardiologist Samuel Ruby, M.D. met him. Ruby evaluated McCloskey, and while the symptoms suggested a heart attack, this was, in fact, not the case.
McCloskey would need a pacemaker to keep his heart beating at a normal rate. The news came as a shock to the then 57-year-old former Marine.
“Both of my parents died from heart disease in their sixties, but I didn’t think much about how that related to my health,” he says. “I played football and boxed in the Marine Corps. I ran thirty miles every week until I was 67 years old.”
After the procedure, McCloskey would go back to his normal routine – working at GE until he retired in 1990, enjoying precious time with his six children, 14 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren, and even serving for 31 years as mayor of Norwood until 2014.
McCloskey would eventually need a defibrillator to keep his heart’s rhythm regular, and in 2009 Ruby referred McCloskey to his colleague, Crozer-Keystone electrophysiologist David Kleinman, M.D., who performed the procedure at Crozer-Chester Medical Center.
Today, looking back on his experiences, McCloskey is thankful that Ruby and the Crozer-Keystone team were there when he needed them most. “The level of care I received was great; top of the line,” he says. “Dr. Ruby made me aware of what was going on and what to expect. The doctors, the staff – everyone was accommodating. But Dr. Ruby – I thank God for him every day. He saved my life.”
Electrophysiology is the treatment of irregular heart rhythms. Pacemakers and defibrillators can be important tools to maintain a healthy heartbeat.
A pacemaker is a small device that is implanted under the skin that sends electrical signals to start or regulate an abnormally slow or rapid heartbeat.
Defibrillators are electronic devices that sense and correct a dangerously abnormal heart rhythm; they can be implanted like a pacemaker.
The electrophysiology lab at Crozer-Chester Medical Center features state-of-the-art imaging systems, intracardiac echocardiogram and can support a full slate of services, including radiofrequency catheter ablation, pacemaker and intracardiac defibrillator insertions, implantable monitoring device insertions and tilt-table testing.
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