Nancy Jurenka

Nancy Jurenka

Retired Central Washington University professor Nancy Jurenka has just one word for KVH Hospital: “Fantastic!”She should know.

After all, Jurenka has landed at KVH Hospital three times in recent months, the first time came in July when she went to the emergency room with severe diverticulitis and was transferred to Yakima Regional. The second time came at the end of September when diverticulitis forced a three-day stay in KVH Hospital’s medical-surgical unit. The third time was a life-saving visit to the hospital’s emergency room.

“The nurses were absolutely wonderful,” the 75-year-old Jurenka says of her stay in the medical-surgical unit. “They were so sweet, supportive and compassionate. I never heard ‘I am so sorry’ as often as I did then. They were fabulous about teamwork and about communicating with each other.”

That stay in late September forged Jurenka’s enthusiastic praise for the care at KVH Hospital. An encounter two months later cemented it.

Flash back to Nov. 6.

Jurenka, a member of PEO, a service organization that provides scholarships for women, was seven miles outside of Ellensburg packing nuts for the group’s annual fundraiser. “All of a sudden I didn’t feel right,” says Jurenka, who abruptly left and began driving to Ellensburg.

Days earlier she’d seen a public service announcement on the symptoms of heart attack. As she drove “all the classic symptoms started to hit – nausea, pressure on the chest, pain in the jaw, stabbing pain in the back.  “I was just going to go home and go to bed and figured it would go away. Then I thought, ‘No, Jurenka. This is serious.’ I had a little argument with myself all the way down to the hospital.”

Driving yourself to the hospital if you suspect a heart attack isn’t what experts advise. “But I was out in the country by myself and I thought I should keep going,” she says.

Jurenka says KVH Hospital emergency room staff rushed into action “instantaneously” when she said she thought she was having a heart attack. “I bet I wasn’t there more than five minutes before they had me on this machine, on that machine, took my blood, looked at the results. The doctor says, ‘Yes, you’re having a heart attack’ – and bang! – here comes the EMTs and off we go to Yakima Regional (Medical and Cardiac Center). “I thought, ‘This is a heck of a way to get the attention of four cute guys,'” Jurenka says with a laugh.

She lauds the way medical staff communicated with her and with each other and calls the care she got at KVH Hospital’s emergency room “another case of excellent teamwork.”

The coordination between KVH Hospital and Yakima Regional, where heart specialists waited to treat her, was seamless, she says. At Yakima Regional, “they were prepared and ready to go when I got there, moved me from the ambulance gurney to the hospital bed, punched a hole in my groin, put some kind of a wire up my heart and cleaned out what was there,” Jurenka says. “They said I had a 90 percent blockage.”

Jurenka, who was back home two days later, says she has always valued KVH but hadn’t experienced the “amazing” quality of care the hospital provides until unexpected health issues landed her there. “They’re just fabulous,” she says. “You won’t find better care anywhere.”