Patient crashes party: Firefighter shows up for treatment, cardio suite open house cut short

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Rushing people to Shelby Baptist Medical Center is nothing new for Chelsea firefighter Ben Hosterer, but the 29-year-old never imagined he would be the first person treated in the hospital&8217;s new cardio suite.

Giving fresh meaning to the phrase &8220;crashing a party,&8221; Hosterer interrupted the grand opening ceremony for the facility last Friday when he became its inaugural patient.

Hosterer drove himself to Shelby Baptist in Alabaster around lunchtime Friday, suffering from intense chest pains. Once there, Dr. Dale Elliot, concerned about Hosterer&8217;s weight and EKG fluctuations, decided to perform an angiogram with the newer equipment.

&8220;We knew the advanced equipment would provide clearer results, and they were beautiful images,&8221; said Elliot.

Hospital officials had planned to start treating patients in the new lab on Monday. Hosterer&8217;s admission meant shutting down the open house and stopping tours.

&8220;We asked him if he would like to be the virgin case,&8221; said Elliot. &8220;He said it was fitting since he has brought so many people here.&8221;

While Hosterer was later released Friday after observation, he said he would rather be safe than sorry.

&8220;I see how hard-headed people can be every day about doctors,&8221; he said. &8220;With my family history of heart disease, I didn&8217;t want to take any chances.&8221;

He also praised the SBMC staff for their work. &8220;The team in there with me was very professional.&8221;

In fact, Hosterer said the most painful part of the whole ordeal might be the teasing from family members, friends and co-workers.

&8220;It&8217;s really neat in a way, being the first patient considering what I do,&8221; he said. &8220;It will be in the scrapbook forever.&8221;

His girlfriend Candice Storey, who works in Shelby Baptist&8217;s insurance department, agreed.

&8220;We all appreciate the irony. I too just thank the staff because they were all so on the ball.&8221;