Baptist Health Paducah Heart Failure Clinic brings new hope to patient
Robert Ragan, 81 of Paducah was at his wit’s end when he walked through the doors of Baptist Health’s Heart Failure Clinic
(PADUCAH, KY) February 23, 2023 - After a COVID-19 diagnosis, a loss of more than 50 pounds and an abundance of doctor appointments, Robert Ragan, 81 of Paducah was at his wit’s end when he walked through the doors of Baptist Health’s Heart Failure Clinic, a program for patients struggling to manage their heart failure symptoms.
During a routine visit with his cardiologist in September 2022, Ragan weighed a mere 103 pounds, was malnourished, had a loss of appetite, was short of breath and was too tired to perform everyday activities. It was then that Ragan’s cardiologist referred him to the Heart Failure Clinic.
Heart failure is a condition that can be confusing for many. While it may sound like the heart has completely stopped functioning, heart failure is actually a condition where the heart is not working as well as it should. There are several types of heart failure including left-side, right-side and congestive heart failure.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 6 million people in the United States are living with some kind of heart failure.
While Ragan’s ultimate goal was to get back to his original weight of 165 pounds and get back out on the golf course, he was a bit apprehensive about his appointment at the Heart Failure Clinic.
“I was thinking, here we go again, another doctor,” Ragan said. “But I ended up being pleasantly surprised because there were at least 4-5 people who tended to me when I first visited the clinic. I was impressed by that and thought; well, maybe, we are going to do some good this time.”
Baptist Health Medical Group cardiologist David Saxon, MD, oversees the clinic. In addition to Saxon, the clinic’s staff includes a nurse practitioner, clinical pharmacist, dietitian, nurse and certified medical assistant. This comprehensive team works together to decide on the best treatment plan for each patient.
When Ragan arrived at the clinic, he met with Laura Cone, the Heart Failure nurse navigator, who provided him with one-on-one and in-depth education on how to manage his heart failure. Cone’s job is to ensure each patient understands their diagnosis and is equipped to care for themselves at home. Ragan also met with, David Saxon, MD; Nathan Reasor, APRN; and Pam Ward, registered dietitian.
“I have seen Mr. Ragan transform from a man who felt unwell all of the time and someone who was very unhappy with his quality of life, to a man who always has a smile on his face, and seeming to really enjoy his life,” Cone said. “He has gained healthy weight, improved his stamina and is much happier and healthier overall since his first visit at the clinic.”
Ragan has gained 30 pounds and is back to playing golf since working with the Heart Failure Clinic.
“Everyone in the clinic has been great,” Ragan said. “I told them last time I was there that I don’t know if it was them or all of the prayers, but I think you all saved my life.”
To manage their heart failure, it’s essential that patients work together with the healthcare professionals at the clinic.
“This clinic is important for our community because heart failure is a condition that cannot be cured,” Cone said. “Once heart failure has been diagnosed, it’s of the utmost importance to learn to manage this condition at home, and to follow up with a clinic that can provide comprehensive care so the patient can improve their quality and quantity of life.”
If you have been diagnosed with heart failure, our experts are ready to help with managing treatment plans and improving quality of life to the best level possible. The Heart Failure Clinic is located on Baptist Health Paducah’s main campus, Suite 101. Clinic hours are limited to Mondays from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., by appointment only. To learn more about the clinic or to schedule an appointment, call 270.415.4627.