Thursday, November 27, 2014

It started with a feeling like heartburn.  No severe pain, just discomfort in his chest that lasted anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes.

Over a two-week period, that “feeling” woke Wade G. Burkholder at night about a dozen times.  I felt as normal as normal can be during the day” says Wade. “I had no shortness of breath, no arm pain. I thought it was just indigestion.”

Wade wasn’t overly concerned with the night discomfort but he made a doctor’s appointment anyway for the following week with his physician, Dr. Wallace Brubaker.

In the meantime Wade and his wife Linda went to a book sale. “I was lugging around these heavy books,” Wade remembers, seeming to cringe at the thought. What he didn’t know at the time was he had a ticking bomb in his chest.

Wade was called in to his doctor’s office early to fill a cancellation. It was a good thing, because Dr. Brubaker took one look at his EKG and sent him directly to Chambersburg Hospital’s Emergency Department.

Those “feelings” Wade was having at night were a series of heart attacks slowly stealing his life from him. Had he waited longer he could have died.

“He [Dr. Brubaker] wanted me to go by ambulance but I’d driven there to his office. I felt fine. I had my wife drive me to the ER,” recalls Wade. “When we got there they were waiting for me.  Someone said ‘Are you Mr. Burkholder?’ and that was the beginning.”

After a series of tests, Wade was rushed to the Cardiac Cath Lab to have two stents put in the arteries leading to his heart. The heart attacks cost him 75% of his heart function. He spent four days in the hospital and a period over 15 weeks in Cardiac Rehab working to repair the damaged muscle.

The lesson learned?  Don’t wait when you don’t feel well.  Wade Burkholder is lucky to be alive today.  And he knows it.         

In December, 2011, Wade Burkholder wrote the letter below thanking cardiologist Dr. Alymer Tang and his staff, the Emergency Department team, Chaplaincy, Cardiac Rehab, and Chambersburg Hospital for the care that saved his life.

Letters of Thanks – Grateful Patient Program

Each year as the holiday season approaches, we all receive many requests in the mail seeking donations.  All are worthy causes.  We have a favorite charity … maybe several favorites.  In times when the economy is tight we tend to give less, than perhaps during good times.

I have always felt it’s best to support local needs first.  With that premise, I am asking that those reading this consider a gift to a most deserving group, the Chambersburg Hospital.  This is a public request on behalf of their Grateful Patient Program.  Through the prayers and kind thoughts of many wonderful people and the professional care from the staff of Chambersburg Hospital eight months ago, I am here today to make this request.

Dr. Tang and his team in the emergency room of Chambersburg Hospital that day gave me an extension on life.  Members of the staff at Franklin County Heart Center made my journey back an extraordinary experience.  Visits to the Cardiac Rehab Center with wonderful nurses – Becky, Pat, Kim Carol and Nan, made getting back to normal a most pleasant experience.  A visit and an opportunity to pray with the Rev. Harold Yeager while in the hospital will always be remembered.  As this year ends, it’s time to reflect and be thankful for so much.

Please consider a thank you gift to the Chambersburg Hospital – an affiliate of Summit Health.  Attention:  Development Office, 785 Fifth Ave., Suite 1, Chambersburg, PA, 17201.  Please designate your gift for support of “Cardiology Services.”  Merry Christmas and may God bless all during this holy season … when we celebrate the birth of our Savior.

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If you want to learn more about how you can support any program or service at your hometown hospital, give us a call, (717) 267-7703, or email Or, simply give online at


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