Cardiac Vest Saves Life of Former Foard County Judge

Published 10/01 2012 06:08PM

Updated 10/01 2012 06:51PM

    It wasn't in his thirty-three years serving as Foard County judge that caused Charlie Bell to have his first heart attack.
    It happened while he was in the hospital.
    "I had a monitor on in the hospital here and it showed on the monitor that I was having an episode, but it was not real severe," Bell says.
    Dr. Ved Ganeshram, Bell's cardiologist, says, "He had a very weak heart muscle and heart failure and he would have to wait six months before he could get an implanted defibrillator ."
    Bell's doctor decided to prescribe a life vest so he didn't have to wait.
    "It does pretty much the same work that an implanted defibrillator does.  In other words, it's your personal paramedic that's at your bedside," Dr. Ganeshram says.
    Just three months later, Bell realized how glad he was to be equipped with the technology.
    "One night about midnight, I woke up and I was having a real weak sensation.  I wasn't hurting, but I was very disoriented and weak," Bell says.
    His LifeVest went off, alerting him he was having a heart attack.
    While EMT's were transporting Bell on a stretcher to the ambulance, the LifeVest went off again.
    Bell had a second heart within minutes of the first.
    The vest secretes a blue gel, then uses electrodes attached to the body to shock the patient's heart and help it operate correctly.
    Even though he has to carry the LifeVest pack around with him each day, and has several electrodes attached to his skin, Bell says the vest provides him a sense of comfort.
    "It's like a prophet.  It tells you in advance something that's happening to you that you may not know is happening to you," he says.
    Bell says he's grown to trust the technology.
    So much so, he's decided to keep the vest, instead of getting a defibrillator.

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