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Meijer Heart Center works to add 24 new ICU beds

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Posted at 11:28 AM, Feb 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-12 11:28:43-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — ICU beds were in high demand because of COVID-19, which caused some to wait longer for crucial care. 

Grand Rapids' Meijer Heart Center is converting an entire floor to keep up.

At the end of the project, they'll have 24 additional ICU beds to cater to specific care.

Michael Travis doesn't have a family history of severe heart problems.

One day at work, his heart gave out. Travis says if he didn't receive the care he got, he wouldn't be here today.

"My heart had stopped, and I was out for 35 minutes," Travis told FOX 17.

Doctors never declared Michael Travis dead, but he was pretty close to it.

"A few of them said that they said it was a miracle that I made it through. In fact, a couple of them still to this day, when they see me, they call me Miracle Mike," Travis added.

It wasn't just a miracle. Travis also saw some incredible care.

Travis had his heart attack in 2018 at work. He says thankfully, someone there knew CPR, and EMTs got there when they did.

"I really congratulate them for keeping me alive and on the way to the hospital," Travis said.

According to the American Heart Association, more than 870,000 people in the United States died of cardiovascular disease in 2019.

Of people who suffered cardiac arrests, 74% were at home, and 15% were in a public setting.

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"So, the demand for intensive care beds at Spectrum Health has been growing," Senior Vice President Spectrum Health Brian Basser said.

So, the hospital network plans to have 24 new ICU beds in the Meijer Heart Center by this time next year.

"It might be patients who have... are receiving bone marrow transplants and may have complications that need specific monitoring. They could be acute respiratory failure. They could be a post-cardiac arrest."

Travis knows about the care at their center. He was one of their patients.

"You asked me about that. I see heaven, but no, I didn't. But I tell you what: the closest thing that I could ever say which would be angelic-like was the care that I got," Travis said.

Travis's message now is to get checkups so you don't have to experience what he went through.

"Just because you're not in pain doesn't mean that there's nothing going on with your heart. Get it checked regularly."

Here are some signs to look out for with potential heart issues. According to the CDC: chest pain, feeling weak, pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back and shortness of breath.

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