LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- His name is Ervin O'Neal, but he grew up with the nickname Vic.
He retired from the railroad where he worked in Memphis as a mechanic, and he moved to Hot Springs Village, where he learned the lesson of “the gown.”
It’s amazing seeing the rapport that Vic and his doctor have because of how he felt when he needed a primary care physician
“My wife said ‘well, why don't you go to my doctor,’ and I said isn't your doctor a female and she said yes,” said O’Neal.
But he went anyway because he was diabetic, but on that first visit Dr. Kristi Sutton talked heart issues.
“I didn't have a clue at the time that that was what was going on.”
She strongly urged him to get taken to the ER and after tests he got the shock of his life when the attending physician said he was dying of heart failure.
Vic went in for one thing but discovered another thing that put him in the hospital 16 days. While there, his wife had a revealing conversation with Dr. Sutton.
“My wife said, ‘how did you know there was something wrong with Vic?’ and she said well when he passed me by and I was standing at the nurse's station he was just huffing’ and puffin’ and she said I knew something was wrong.”
“He was he was definetly at risk for having a heart attack that would have caused very significant damage. That's why we try to get patients on a regular schedule,” said Dr. Sutton.
In the years since the heart operation, regular visits also allowed Dr. Sutton to catch other problems just in the ‘Vic’ of time. He now preaches the gown gospel.
“I'm not a bit bashful. I'll just by golly tell ‘em man, you got problems, you need to see a doctor. I call Dr. Sutton my guardian angel and I will call her that for the rest of my life.”
Vic now sees Dr. Sutton every three months. Plus, he has complete faith in his rural hospital, his primary care physician, and the healing power of taking personal responsibility for his health, or putting on the gown.