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Larry Pipkins – Heart Attack Success Story

Angels on his side

Larry Pipkins, 61, owns, builds, and races cars. But one day in June 2013, the only thing racing for Pipkins was his heart. He was having a heart attack. Paramedics took him to Methodist Charlton Medical Center, where he received care from an award-winning cardiology program. Pipkin’s testimony supports the need for Methodist Charlton Medical Center's dedicated Heart and Vascular Institute in the Best Southwest community.

From Crossroads, the Methodist Health System Foundation’s annual report.

Larry Pipkins thanks God that he was brought to Methodist Charlton when a heart attack struck

Larry Pipkins is a “car guy.”

Larry Pipkins gives all the glory to God for sending the team at Methodist Charlton Medical Center to save his life.

“I have race cars. I build race cars. I race race cars,” he says. “It’s something my daddy and I shared since I was 10 years old.”

But one day in June 2013, what was racing was Larry’s heart.

He had just gotten out of the shower after doing some yard work. All of a sudden, he started sweating profusely and struggled to catch his breath.

“It felt like there was an elephant sitting on my chest, the pressure was so great,” he says.

His wife, Paula, came in to find him lying on the floor. Larry told her to call 911.

A fast heart attack response

Duncanville Fire paramedics rushed Larry to Methodist Charlton Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with a 100 percent blockage in his left anterior descending coronary artery — what doctors have nicknamed a “widow maker” for its deadliness.

Methodist Charlton has been recognized for its fast heart attack treatment times by the American Heart Association Dallas Caruth Initiative.

“I tell you, the experience that I had was so unbelievably smooth,” Larry says. “When those guys delivered me to the emergency department, it was God orchestrating every person who had anything to do with my care. There were angels all around me doing their thing.”

One of those angels was Manish Patel, MD, FACC, interventional cardiologist at Methodist Charlton, who performed a cardiac catheterization procedure to restore blood flow to Larry’s heart.

“Because heart and vascular disease is the major cause of death and disability in our community, Methodist Charlton has committed to providing high-quality cardiovascular services,” Dr. Patel says.

He says the team works with organized, streamlined processes to make sure each heart attack patient is treated correctly and within the national goal of 90 minutes. In Larry’s case, the time was 50 minutes.

Living with a mission

Once Larry arrived in recovery, Dr. Patel came to check on him.

“If you quit smoking …,” Dr. Patel started, but before he could finish the sentence, Larry fist-bumped him and said, “I’m done smoking.” He hasn’t smoked since, and after he completed cardiac rehabilitation, he continued to exercise and eat well.

Larry gives all the glory to God for sending the team at Methodist Charlton to save his life. He hopes that the life he lives echoes the love and peace he has experienced through his faith and at the hands of his caregivers. 

“There are some people in this world who realize that God gave them talent and what they’re supposed to do with it; others have talent but are misusing it,” he says. “The people at Methodist Charlton clearly understand why God gave them their talent. They’re using it to care for people, and He’s happy about that. All I can say is thank you and that I love them.”

Find out if your heart is in danger of heart disease. Take our quiz at MethodistHealthSystem.org/HeartHealthLibrary.

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