Dr. Travis Stork. Photography by Jack Plunkett.
Dr. Travis Stork educated listeners about the human heart and how it operates at Prevention Magazine’s 3rd annual R3 Summit held at ACL Live at The Moody Theater on Jan. 16, 2016. Dr. Stork works in the emergency room and he seeks to advise people about the warning signs of heart malfunction and when to seek immediate medical attention. Joining him on stage was R3’s Master of Ceremonies, Dr. Jennifer Ashton, a Board-certified ob-gyn and fellow co-host of the Emmy®- Award–winning show “The Doctors”, ABC Chief Health Correspondent. Together, the two doctors delivered a compelling, interactive, playful and graphic presentation regarding heart disease and other medical miscellany.
Heart disease is the number one killer for both women and men. And Dr. Travis Stork says that too many people neglect the warning signs or the red flags of heart-related health problems due to factors such as lack of knowledge or lack of awareness. Sadly a lot of people are unaware of the symptoms or they unknowingly confuse a heart attack for something less severe like fatigue, numbness, indigestion or nausea. Resulting in a heart that goes untreated, sometimes until it’s too late. “Time is muscle” and Dr. Stork wants everyone to be aware of the facts.
“Dr. Travis Stork is an Emmy®-nominated host of the award-winning talk show, ‘The Doctors’, and a board-certified emergency medicine physician. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Duke University as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and earned his M.D. with honors from the University of Virginia, being elected into the prestigious honor society of Alpha Omega Alpha for outstanding academic achievement. Based on his experiences in the ER, Dr. Stork is driven to teach people how to prevent illness before it happens. As a motivational speaker on the topic of health and wellness, Dr. Stork teaches people how to achieve optimal health by focusing on the 200-plus seemingly inconsequential health decisions people make throughout each day.”
Nicolette Mallow: Working as an ER doctor, obviously you deal with a lot of blood and trauma. You have numerous patients in dire pain and distress, sometimes on the verge of life or death. How do you handle such high volumes of pressure and chaos on a daily basis and remain calm all the while to serve and heal your patients?
Dr. Travis Stork: Being an ER doctor is a lot like anything else. A learned skill. For instance, I am sure when you began writing and interviewing people that it made you nervous. You had doubts, fears and hesitations. Everything can be scary in the beginning. As an ER doctor, I felt all those emotions and fears in the beginning. But as time went by it became more and more of a routine and I overcame my fear. When you have a patient gushing or squirting out massive amounts of blood: you have to learn to overcome the fear, manage the stress and work under pressure.
NM: What is one aspect of being a doctor that Medical school could not prepare you for?
DTS: The healthcare system. It’s a beast. Nothing at school could’ve ever prepared me for that and it’s most definitely a huge problem that I was not prepared for. Fortunately doctors are becoming more vocal about our dysfunctional healthcare system and seek to improve the inadequacies.
NM: A veteran who served our country overseas as a Combat medic in the US Army during times of war once told me that the heart is the most important organ in our body. People often think it’s the brain, but he told me that the brain can die and yet the heart stays awake. Which is what happens when people go into a coma. Do you agree that the heart is our most imperative organ?
DTS: Yes; without a doubt the heart is the most crucial organ. Let’s say someone’s brain is damaged after a heart attack or the brain stops functioning. The result is not because the brain died or was damaged on its own without cause. It doesn’t just happen for no reason. When oxygen flow is cut off from the heart to the brain, tissue dies. The effect of such scar tissue is damage (sometimes permanent damage) to the brain. Our heart pumps out blood and oxygen that flows into every particle, cell and organ within the body.
For those unable to hear Dr. Travis Stork’s live presentation at the R3 Summit, there is plenty of information provided by online. Please refer to his videos “Signs of a Heart Attack” and what happens to the body during a “Heart Attack”.
Note: This article was originally published on in January 2016.