Willis Yandell of Tool

Willis Yandell of Tool, Texas, was in cardiac distress and his wife called 911. An ETMC EMS ambulance took him to the nearby ETMC Cedar Creek Lake’s emergency center in Gun Barrel City, where he was stabilized until the ETMC Air 1 helicopter arrived to fly him to ETMC Tyler. The timely treatment he received there – it began well within the national timeline goal – helped save his life.

first-person-yandellYandell awoke a little after midnight with pressure on his chest, trouble breathing and excessive sweating. Well aware of the heart problems that run in his family, he suggested he drive himself to the emergency room. Fortunately, his wife insisted on calling 911.

In the ambulance, Yandell remembered, he was given pills and the emergency medical technicians used a defibrillator on him. The EMTs decided to take him to the ETMC Gun Barrel City emergency center and call for a helicopter to take him to ETMC Tyler as quickly as possible. Yandell said he heard later that he was prepped for his surgery as he waited for the helicopter. He felt awful.

I heard a nurse say, ‘You’re not going to die.’

“I told my wife I was going to die, and I heard a nurse say, ‘You’re not going to die, you’re not going to die.’ We had extremely good nurses and staff at ETMC in Gun Barrel, as well as the people who were in the ambulance. I’m just glad they were there for me.” Yandell reached ETMC Tyler, and only 39 minutes later he started to receive interventional treatment to unblock his artery. That’s well within the national “hospital door to intervention” treatment goal for heart attacks of 90 minutes.

Heart tissue that is deprived of blood flow dies, so it’s vital to restore that flow quickly. ETMC’s system is designed to transport patients to ETMC Tyler quickly and to provide care efficiently.

Two stents were placed in Yandell’s arteries to restore full blood flow to his heart. Later he underwent cardiac rehabilitation at the ETMC Gun Barrel City clinic, and he appreciated having those services so convenient to his home.

Yandell praised the ETMC people, from the ambulance personnel to the staffers in Gun Barrel City to the cardiac team at ETMC Tyler, who were ready to care for him. “I’m lucky in the sense that I had the people there who helped me when I needed it,” he said.

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