Springfield father’s health scare inspires daughter’s nursing career

Father's Day seems extra special for Madelyn Acton since she almost lost her father, Doug, to a heart condition. Doug's time in the hospital for open heart surgery helped Madelyn decide to on a career in nursing. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

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Father's Day seems extra special for Madelyn Acton since she almost lost her father, Doug, to a heart condition. Doug's time in the hospital for open heart surgery helped Madelyn decide to on a career in nursing. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

As many celebrate Father’s Day tone, one Springfield woman will reflect and rejoice as a health scare with her father eventually led to a stronger relationship and the decision to become a nurse.

Months after Madelyn Acton graduated from Southeastern High School in 2017, her father Doug suddenly needed quadruple bypass open heart surgery.

That experience, watching nurses and other medical staff help her family, and Madelyn later serving as her father’s caretaker led to her decision to become a nurse.

Before that, she grappled with the idea, but had not made up her mind. Madelyn also thought about a career in teaching. But she learned that she could combine both passions in the months and years that followed her high school graduation.

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Doug Acton had weighed 370 pounds in 2017. He was scheduled to have gastric sleeve surgery related to his weight. Following a few tests before the surgery, it was discovered that he had multiple blockages in his arteries. There was a real concern that he could die as Doug had a number of other health conditions and had lost his own father to a heart attack.

“I had type two diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea. I mean I was about as close to death as you could be without actually dying,” Doug recalled.

His health issues was something that he did not discuss a lot with his daughter. He had kept those issues to himself, Madelyn recalled.

“When he found out how serious they were is when he opened up to me and told me everything,” Madelyn said.

“Being the only child on this side of our family, we’re really all we’ve got. Aside from the nursing part, I wanted to be there for him and take care of him and help him in any way I could,” she added.

Doug was admitted to the Springfield Regional Medical Center in October of 2017 and had his open heart surgery. The following April, he had gastric sleeve surgery and has lost 170 pounds since then.

His daughter is now the mother of twins who have a very close relationship with their grandfather. Madelyn is grateful that her father is healthy and able to be in her children’s lives. In turn, Doug is very proud of his daughter and what she has accomplished.

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Madelyn now works as a registered nurse in the Accelerated Clinical Education program at Springfield Regional Medical Center along with some of the nurses that helped her father in 2017.

Madelyn said that seeing how nurses at the hospital cared for her dad and the positive impact they can have on the patients and their families inspired her to later go to nursing school.

She enrolled at Hondros College of Nursing’s Dayton campus in 2019 and graduated in 2022.

Madelyn said that since her father’s surgery in 2017 she was able to evaluate what is important to her and what she wants out of life.

She said being able to spend time together as a family, knowing that could have not been the case if her father’s health had taken a worse turn, makes this father’s day particularly special.

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