Richard Chandler of Athens:
It wasn’t pesticide. It was a heart attack.
When Richard Chandler of Athens found himself feeling ill while spraying his peach orchard, he thought he’d been poisoned by the pesticide. Actually it was a heart attack, he discovered when his wife called an ambulance. Chandler went to ETMC Tyler, where he received timely treatment – faster than the national guidelines – to unblock his artery and put him on the road to recovery.
Chandler said he had tried to be careful with the pesticide and had almost finished the application. “About that time I started feeling really bad, weak, nauseous, like I was just really getting sick. And the first thing that came to my mind was that I poisoned myself with the pesticide.”
He stumbled into his home and asked his wife to call 911. When an ETMC ambulance arrived, an EKG revealed that he was having a heart attack.
“I was actually relieved,” Chandler recalled, because he’d had cardiac trouble before and was more afraid of being poisoned. “They say that one of the symptoms of a heart attack is confusion, and I just couldn’t focus on what was going on with me.”
An EMT called for the ETMC Air 1 helicopter to transport Chandler to ETMC Tyler, but when the pilot arrived he said he couldn’t take the risk of pesticide residue contaminating the aircraft. So the ambulance took him to the ETMC flagship hospital, where emergency room staffers greeted him wearing hazmat suits.
Chandler remembered entering ETMC Tyler and speaking with a cardiologist in the cardiac catheterization lab. The next thing he remembered was waking up in the ICU to see his wife and mother.
Within 39 minutes
The ETMC team opened Chandler’s blocked artery within 39 minutes of his entering the hospital. That’s well within the national “hospital door to intervention” treatment goal of 90 minutes for heart attack patients.
Chandler’s heart attack had occurred about 3 o’clock that afternoon, he said. “By 6 o’clock, sitting in the bed in ICU, it was like nothing had happened, except for the discomfort in my groin where they’d done the catheterization.”
He was transferred to a nursing unit for observation and was sent home about 18 hours later. After a couple of weeks of rest he began cardiac rehabilitation.
Chandler praised the care he received at ETMC, from the conscientious emergency team at his home to the accurate diagnosis to the healthcare professionals at the hospital.
“I thought the nurses were excellent,” he said. “They were very attentive and they made me feel like they really did care.”
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