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Close-Up Talk Radio spotlights cardiac sonographer Donna Hendershot

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Turlock, CA – Every cell in the heart has the ability to initiate an impulse. Donna Hendershot began her life living in a railroad box car with no running water or plumbing. Growing up, she always dreamed of one day working in the medical field, but her family couldn’t afford to send her to nursing school. 

At the age of 28, Donna Hendershot defied the odds, finally attending to be a medical assistant. With her foot in the door, finally, Donna resolved to learn every aspect of cardiology.

That was over 36 years ago. Today, Donna is a retired cardiovascular sonographer. Over the course of her career, supervised all diagnostic testing at San Leandro Hospital and served as an educator, teaching hundreds of nursing students, as well as volunteers, senior citizens and nonmedical professionals, on all aspects related to the anatomy and function of the heart.

“I don’t like to use the word retired,” says Donna. “I’m not done working. I have so much knowledge to share.”

The heart works both electrically and mechanically. If an EKG is abnormal they will supplement that test with a sonogram. In cardiac sonography, a transducer penetrates sound into the chest, allowing physicians to look at the individual chambers of the heart and determine how well each is functioning. When you correlate a sonogram with a patient’s EKG, you have a really clear picture of what’s going on with someone’s heart.

“It was my job to help the doctor help the patient,” says Donna. “The sonogram allows patients to know what’s going on in their bodies before it’s too late, so I loved working with patients and encouraging patients when they were going to have surgery.”

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