Surviving a blood clot in the lung

Article Date: Jun 15, 2012

Talk to Bennie Ellison for any length of time and it's easy to see why his friends call him Gentle Ben. Bennie is a gentle soul. He loves work, his dogs and life. But on March 1, 2012, he came dangerously close to losing it all. Bennie called 9-1-1.

"I called the lady on the phone and said 'Maam I don't know what's the matter with me - but you need to send somebody here quick,'" Bennie says. "I thought I was dying."

Bennie's trouble started earlier in the week. He had been battling what he thought was a chest cold. He couldn't catch his breath.

Bennie says "I felt like I was drowning, but there was no water."

Turns out Bennie was battling a life-threatening condition known as a pulmonary embolism or a blood clot in his lungs. This one was massive.

Medics rushed him to Alegent Health Immanuel Medical Center. Bennie didn't look good when he arrived. He was critically ill and running out of time.

Bennie was given a drug to break up the clot. A series of tests, quick thinking and experience led Dr. Bruce Holcomb and his team to the diagnosis.

"This blood clot does not break off and cause a stroke," Dr. Holcomb says. "It stays in the lung and basically just shuts your lungs down so you can't breathe."

Bennie, who has a genuine fear of hospitals, isn't afraid anymore.

"I don't like staying in hospitals but I didn't mind being there, I felt real good – they're real nice people."

Bennie spent a couple of days at Immanuel Medical Center then it was right back to work. He routinely sees his primary care physician now. Alegent Health Clinic's Dr. Arman Pajnigar helps him monitor the clot busting medicine he's taking and keep his health in check.

Gentle Ben is grateful to be alive and back home with his four legged family.

He did the right thing by calling 9-1-1. Fortunately for him, he lives just minutes from one of Alegent's many hospitals. All metro area Alegent Health hospitals are Certified Chest Pain Centers and staffed by experts who specialize in emergency care.

Reader Comments
Posted: Jun 27 2012 6:54 PM CST by c reightler Bennies aunt

After speaking to Bennie I was so grateful he was so close to this medical center
You saved his life
god bless you
forever grateful

Posted: Jul 18 2012 9:10 PM CST by b head

I had the same thing happen to me 4yrs ago. Looking back, going to Immanuel was the best things ive done. The staff was great..

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Related Links
Alegent Health Emergency Departments

Dr. Bruce Holcomb

Dr. Arman Pajnigar

Immanuel Medical Center