For most of her life, Emmanuela Bien-Aime said she "never even needed to take an aspirin." However, when the retail-jewelry buyer and Spring Valley resident began to notice body swelling and joint pain, she became worried. After being diagnosed with Lupus and finding it increasingly difficult to care for herself, Bien-Aime moved to Atlanta to be closer to her mother.
Then, in 2013, she experienced a heart attack and fell into a coma for two and a half weeks. During her coma, three more massive heart attacks followed. Once her condition stabilized, doctors implanted a cardio-defibrillator. When she finally awakened, a nurse told Bien-Aime, a devout Catholic, “Whoever is watching over you must really love you.”
But in the summer of 2016, Bien-Aime — who had moved back to Spring Valley, to be closer to her siblings and grown children — experienced a crushing pain in her chest, learning later that “the pacemaker shocked me three times. It practically lifted me off the ground.” She was immediately taken to Good Samaritan Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth).
From there, she was transferred to Westchester Medical Center, the flagship of WMCHealth, to receive advanced care. “The shock was from a leaking valve and a failing heart,” explained Bien-Aime.
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