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August 24, 2023

Heartfelt gratitude: IU Health Tipton’s cardiology team saved husband and wife

IU Health Tipton Hospital

Heartfelt gratitude: IU Health Tipton’s cardiology team saved husband and wife

By Emma Avila,, writer for IU Health’s Indianapolis Suburban Region

IU Health Tipton’s cardiology team played a crucial role in saving the lives of Roger and Jennifer West.

Roger and Jennifer West just celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary with a vow renewal. They love going on day trips, antiquing and participating in 5K runs. They tell people that they're able to do all the things they love thanks to the team at IU Health Tipton.

Both are patients of Dr. Nathan Lambert, cardiologist, and Beverly Altman, cardiology nurse practitioner. Altman works in collaboration with Lambert and his partners at both the IU Health Tipton and IU Health Saxony in Fishers. She is part of a team-based approach to ensure timely access to high quality cardiology services for both acute and chronic patient care and concerns.

Dr. Nathan Lambert (left) and Beverly Altman (right)
Dr. Nathan Lambert (left) and Beverly Altman (right)

“I see patients independently. They are also patients of the group, but they can see me on a regular basis. If there aren’t any significant concerns, I can treat them,” Altman explained. “I think patients often feel comfortable coming to us with concerns. It helps with the completeness of the care.”

“Having a nurse practitioner like Beverly is essential to our practice,” Lambert added. “We have a large practice with offices in both Tipton and Hamilton counties, and neither one of us could see all the patients alone. Beverly is my right hand. I trust her completely and patients do too. She is the ultimate professional, reviews every chart in detail before each visit and follows through on every issue after the visit, big or small. She does what she says she will do, and patients value that.”

Roger began seeing the duo in 2017 due to the onset of atrial fibrillation, or AFib. If you have AFib, your heartbeat can be fast, chaotic and irregular. It can lead to blood clots, stroke or heart failure because your heart isn't pumping blood like it should. With medication, Roger was able to get this under control.

In early 2022, he had vascular procedures performed on both legs at another facility. He followed up with Altman, who reviewed the notes and thought it would be wise for Roger to get a coronary calcium scan.

“Normal results should be zero. His was 4,000,” she explained.

After that, Altman recommended a stress test to check for blockages in the heart as well. The results came back abnormal.

Altman took the results to Lambert and recommended a heart catheterization. Lambert agreed, and he performed the catheterization at IU Health Saxony in August of 2022. They found significant blockages. The next step was bypass surgery at IU Health Methodist in September.

“I’m doing wonderful now. My heart is as strong as can be,” Roger said. “It was because Beverly took the time to go over everything and not just try to whisk me out of the office like a lot of health care professionals do. She actually saved my life.”

Roger isn’t alone in that gratitude. His wife Jennifer began seeing Lambert and Altman in 2019 for uncontrolled hypertension, tachycardia and difficult to control premature ventricular contractions.

Altman ordered blood tests, which included tests for Jennifer’s thyroid numbers.

“The tests came back, and my thyroid number was very low,” Jennifer explained. “Beverly sent the information over to my doctor, and I was set up with an ultrasound of my thyroid. Come to find out, I had a lesion that started midline and went to the left, along with several nodules.”

After surgery in March of 2022 to remove Jennifer’s thyroid, she found out she did have thyroid cancer.

“If it weren’t for Beverly paying attention to my symptoms and listening to me, I’m not sure I’d still be here,” Jennifer said.

The surgery also helped with the other heart-related issues she was experiencing.

“Once Jennifer's thyroid disease was discovered and effectively treated, her chronic cardiology abnormalities improved or resolved altogether,” Altman said.

The Wests are thankful Altman, Lambert and the entire team were thorough in their care and treatment.

Roger and Jennifer West

“All I can say is praise God for Beverly,” Roger said. “She is a major asset to Dr. Lambert's staff and a huge credit to why IU Health Cardiology is the best. Without her being at the top of her craft, I would not be here today.”

“We can’t say enough about Beverly,” Jennifer agreed. “She really wants to help and she does care.”

Lambert is also grateful to have Altman on the team, helping care for patients.

“She and I have worked together over 10 years now, so we communicate very well. It’s truly collaborative.” He added, “Beverly is not allowed to retire before I do.”



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