Civil War Re-Enactor Faced Battle Of His Life And Won

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Retired Chickamauga City Manager and Civil War re-enactor John Culpepper faced what could have been the battle of his life and won, thanks to the urging of his wife and paramedics. After shrugging off a day of symptoms that included a racing heart and other ill feelings that were consistent with side effects of a steroid treatment used to treat his sinus problems, Mr. Culpepper, a member of the Hutcheson Medical Center board of directors, decided to seek treatment in the hospital’s emergency department in a move that may have saved his life. Now, he’s telling his story so that others may learn from his experience.

After experiencing a full day of unusual sensations in his chest that eventually escalated to severe chest pain radiating into his jaw and teeth while he was doing yard work, Mr. Culpepper and his wife decided to contact paramedics. To their relief, emergency responders found that his heart sounded normal, his blood pressure was good and an EKG did not detect any problems. Still, they urged him to proceed to Hutcheson for further testing. While Mr. Culpepper believed the sensations in his chest to be related to allergies, he decided to go to the emergency room only because he had a board meeting to attend at the hospital. He drove himself to Hutcheson Medical Center, where testing began immediately upon arrival and detected an elevated enzyme in his blood, indicating an immediate heart problem.

Dr. Ezad Ahmad, a physician who covers cardiology call at Hutcheson, conducted a diagnostic catheterization that detected a 90 percent blockage in an artery leading to Mr. Culpepper’s heart – a condition with life-threatening consequences. Mr. Culpepper was subsequently transferred by ambulance to Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton, a hospital that performs interventional caths, and received a stent within ten minutes of arrival.

“If it were not for the paramedics urging and the Hutcheson board meeting, I would not have sought additional medical care and would have suffered a massive heart attack,” said Culpepper, who is admittedly stubborn. After all, he had a complete blood work-up with his regular physician just three weeks before that did not indicate a problem, and he was scheduled to receive a distinguished service award for “Outstanding Community Service for Walker County” from the Fort Oglethorpe Kiwanis Club the following day.

“Mr. Culpepper’s decision to follow his instincts and the advice of medical professionals at home and at Hutcheson allowed us to treat a previously undetected condition,” said Dr. Ahmad. “Now that he’s won this battle, he’s ready to take on a few more. This time, though, they can be as a re-enactor.” 

Since his retirement, Mr. Culpepper focuses his time in serving as chairman of the Georgia Civil War Commission and continuing his involvement with the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Mr. Culpepper was able to play a significant role in commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Chickamauga last year, which included more than 10,000 re-enactors.


Heroin, Buprenorphine Drug Busts On The Rise In Tennessee

Tennessee’s nearly half-decade long effort, dedicated to limiting easy access to prescription pain medications and similar opioid-based narcotics, has been successful, officials said. Since 2012 the state has seen a steady decline in the use and abuse of these substances commonly prescribed by family physicians. 2015 drug seizure data from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation shows ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Ronald McDonald House Bids Farewell To Their Last Telethon

Ronald McDonald House Charities, a “home away from home” for families of sick and injured children, will be hosting their last Telethon partnered with WTVC-NewsChannel 9 on March 5, from 7-11 p.m. Officials said the purpose for the Telethon is to highlight donor contributions from 2015 and to encourage viewers to call-in and make a donation. There will also be family and volunteer ... (click for more)

Wintry Mix Possible For Chattanooga Area

A wintry mix is possible for the Chattanooga area beginning Sunday. However, there could be little or no snow and ice unless temperatures dip. Here is the latest forecast from the National Weather Service: MIXED WINTRY PRECIPITATION EXPECTED SUNDAY NIGHT AND MONDAY MORNING... A MIX OF RAIN AND SNOW IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN FALLING ACROSS THE SOUTHERN CUMBERLAND PLATEAU...THE ... (click for more)

Almost $5 Million In Donations Received For Organ Donor Awareness Since Program Began

Hamilton County Clerk Bill Knowles, one of the founding board members of the Tennessee County Clerks Organ Donor Awareness Foundation, announce d that in 2015  the  95 Tennessee County Clerk offices marked a milestone of receiving almost $5 million in donations since its formation in 1996. Mr. Knowles said,  “Over  the years  Hamilton County  consistently ... (click for more)

Black History Month Hero - Theodore McGraw (Kidd) AKA "Pongee" - And Response

I grew up in "Old St. Elmo" on 39th Street behind the Incline. As a child I remember my older brother "Pongee" as being my hero. This month of February being Black History Month, I cannot think of a better person to be honored than my late older brother, Theodore McGraw (Kidd) aka "Pongee" of St. Elmo (Gamble Town). Growing up without my father, Theodore was always available ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: About Lions & Elephants

A family of lions is called a ‘pride’ and rightfully so. The boss of the pride is indeed the ‘King of the Jungle’ and he makes all the big decisions, like when they go hunting, who is going to be ‘boyfriend-girlfriend’ and is quick to settle any family quarrels. But, as with all in nature, there comes a day when the King gets too old to rule. His teeth are loose, his gait hampered ... (click for more)