Heart Health Patient Stories

Quick-thinking doctors saved his life

June 14, 2012

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Quick-thinking doctors saved his life

Jeff Finch had the classic symptoms of a heart attack.

“I was in the kitchen and both my arms went numb and I started sweating real bad,” he says.

What he did next was something doctors see far too often. Jeff went out in the garage to cool off.

A few minutes later, when the symptoms didn’t go away, Jeff knew he was having a heart attack. He had his wife drive him to CHI Health Immanuel Medical Center.

“I was scared,” he recalled.

At 49, with no history of heart disease, Jeff came dangerously close to never playing ball again with his kids.

He didn’t pick Immanuel Medical Center because it’s a Certified Chest Pain Center. He picked it because it was the closest hospital – just four minutes from home. That decision saved his life.

“He was close to death,” Chad Shuff, MD says. “His heart was basically quivering rather than beating.”

Jeff says, “by the time I walked in the door to the cath lab, it had to be 20 minutes or less – it was that fast.”

He had 100 percent blockage and coded in the cath lab. “They told me I was hit eight times with a defibrillator to get my heart beating again.”

He’s here today because all metro area CHI Health hospitals are Certified Chest Pain Centers and follow a strict protocol for treating heart attack symptoms.

“With a heart attack, time is muscle. The least amount of time that goes by that we can fix the blockage that’s causing the heart attack, the better the outcome will be,” Dr. Shuff says. “Do not ignore your symptoms.”

Jeff spent four days in the hospital and completed cardiac rehab at Immanuel Medical Center.

“I’m indebted to them,” he says. “I wouldn’t be here without them.”

He has changed his diet and now exercises and takes nothing for granted. Jeff is a walking miracle.

“That’s what the nurses in ICU said – I had angels on my shoulders,” Jeff recalled.

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