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Heart Attack Patient Tells His Story

September 01, 2011

Mark Saiz and his care team
Mark Saiz and his care team

P/SL Heart Attack Patient Tells His Story

Mark Saiz’s recent heart attack is a story with a happy ending, because teamwork, great patient care and evidence-based medical procedures all came together at Presbyterian St. Luke’s. His experience was a textbook example of how our procedures work every day to save lives and bring our patients back to good health.

Saiz was doing yard work when he felt ill. He thought he was overheated but even after a cool shower “I kept hearing this little voice: ‘You need to call for help.’” Cardiac Alert kicked into high gear as paramedics informed the P/SL ED, gave him oxygen and sped him to the hospital. “His door-to-balloon time was 33 minutes, a record for us and well below the national target of 90 minutes,” said Dan Gutmann, MD, Trauma Service Medical Director.

In a “thank you” email and follow-up interview, Saiz told his story: “From the minute I was wheeled into the emergency room ... they moved with military precision. I was there for about five minutes when the doctor came in, introduced himself and said, ‘Mark, you’re having a heart attack and I’m going to get you into surgery.’” “Some of the EDs, like P/SL, can look at a patient remotely and initiate the Cardiac Alert. “There’s this scramble. We’re like fighter pilots,” said cardiologist Dilsher Nawaz, M.D. “Fortunately, I was very close to the hospital ... and that day everything went very smoothly,” he said. “It’s a very gratifying process,” Dr. Nawaz said. “Someone is literally in the throes of death and you come out 30 minutes later and tell the family everything is all right.”

Saiz praises everyone’s kindness and attentiveness: Dr. Nawaz personally called his wife, who was out of town. An ED nurse wiped away his tears. Afterwards, he found a note from an ED nurse in the shorts that she cut off, “Sorry about the shorts. Praying for a quick recovery.” “The speed of what you did, from the beginning to the end...it’s not just saying thank you. I can’t put it into words. I’m just very grateful,” he said.

When Saiz left the hospital, he had the right medications and knew how to take them. “He was referred to outpatient cardiac rehabilitation, which he is now attending,” according to Cardiac Rehabilitation Manager Mary Jensen, RN-C, BSN, MBA. Our procedures are “... proven to decrease his chance of another cardiac event and allow him to have the knowledge he needs to modify his cardiac disease risk factors.” Saiz’s experience exemplifies the care at P/ SL, and why Thomson Reuters named our hospital one of the Top 50 Cardiac Programs in the country. P/SL’s programs have also been recognized by the American Heart Association continuously since 2002. “If you can have a great experience in the hospital, I did. Everything was amazing,” Saiz said.