Chased from her Louisiana home by Hurricane Rita in September 2005, Marlene Benjamin and her minister husband found a new home in Hephzibah.
For Mrs. Benjamin, it also was a new lease on life.
She’d had heart problems in the past, but things rapidly went downhill once she came to the Augusta area. An echocardiogram performed at Lamar Medical Center in March 2006 so alarmed clinicians, Mrs. Benjamin was sent directly to University Hospital’s Emergency Department.
“They said I had congestive heart failure,” she said. “There was so much of a blockage, only 10 percent of my heart was working.”
Kelly Lane, M.D., a cardiologist who practices at University Hospital, came to see Mrs. Benjamin and noted the woman was critically ill.
“Kelly Lane was the angle that God sent to me,” Mrs. Benjamin said. “I told her, ‘Whatever it takes, I’m willing.’”
Mrs. Benjamin underwent cardiac surgery March 24, 2006, and spent weeks recovering enough to leave the hospital.
Even then, her recover was a long process of respiratory therapy and disease management through University Hospital’s Congestive Heart Failure Program.
“Everyone at University went above and beyond to make me comfortable,” she said. “The Lord sent me here to get this care. … If I’d stay in Louisiana, I really don’t think I would have made it.”