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Lessons Learned

Posted on March 6, 2020 in Patient Stories

Eddie EvansAfter 46 years in the classroom, Eddie Evans still cares about teaching. But he cares about more than the kind of learning that comes with a report card.

Evans suffered a pulmonary embolism in 2019. Pulmonary embolism happens when an artery in the lung is blocked.

It can damage the heart and other organs. It can even be deadly.

Evans’ symptoms included feeling weak and faint, shortness of breath and an elevated heart rate. The medical staff at an urgent care center told him he needed to go to a hospital emergency department. He chose Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center.

“I had heard about everything that they had done here,” Evans says, “and everything I had heard proved to be true. They knew what they were doing.”

The hospital’s Pulmonary Embolism Response Team (PERT) quickly went to work. The PERT is a team of physician specialists who work together to give the patient the most comprehensive, multi-specialty care.

After the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism was made with a CT scan, an ultrasound confirmed that the right side of Evans heart was struggling to pump blood through the clots in the lung.   Then, in the cardiology cath lab, two catheters that dispense a clot busting medicine in addition to ultrasound waves were placed in the pulmonary arteries.  The ultrasound allows faster delivery of the medications to all areas of the lungs in a shorter period of time.  After six hours, the catheters were removed and he was initiated on oral blood thinning medications.  The ultrasound of the heart the next day showed complete resolution of his heart function. 

Lessons Learned

These days, Evans is sharing what he learned. For one thing, he learned that being active helps keep pulmonary embolism from happening again.

“I’ve been better for every day that I’ve gone out and stayed active,” Evans says. 

He added that he has learned that it’s important to do your homework after having a p pulmonary embolism.

“At some point, it will come to you what you’ve been through,” Evans says. “It will hit you mentally and emotionally. Do a lot of research and don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

Evans learned it is important to have doctors who have your best interest at heart. He believes he found that kind of care at Fort Sanders Regional.

“I think bedside manner is everything, because that can affect you physically, mentally and emotionally,” Evans says. “The world needs more people like that.”

To learn more about cardiology and pulmonology services at Fort Sanders Regional, visit, or call 865-673-FORT.