Jim Smith – Heart Attack Success Story

Another Record-Breaking Heart Rescue

James “Jim” Eldon Smith of WylieLast year, Methodist Richardson Medical Center and the Richardson Fire Department were rewarded for their fast response to treating a heart attack. Since then, Methodist Richardson has continued to lower its heart attack treatment times, such as a notable 15 minutes in the case of James “Jim” Eldon Smith of Wylie.

Smith was working in his yard this Memorial Day and, after a few hours, began to feel extremely dehydrated.

“I walked into the house to drink some water,” he says. “My wife, Pam, looked at me and noticed I was also very pale.

“I was about to lie down and take a nap, but something inside told me I should go to the emergency department.”

At a local emergency clinic, the medical staff immediately recognized that Smith was having a heart attack.

“I was shocked,” he says. “My symptoms were so mild, I really thought I was just dehydrated.”

A remarkable 15 minutes

The Murphy Fire Department transferred Smith to Methodist Richardson. Ready and waiting for him were Nhan Nguyen, MD, independently practicing inter­ventional cardiologist, and the emergency department team.

“Everyone around me knew exactly what they were doing,” Smith says. “The moment I arrived, they rushed me right up to the cardiac catheterization lab.”

Fully alert at the time, Smith noted the concern Dr. Nguyen also showed his wife.

“As they were wheeling me into the elevator to go to the cath lab, my wife waited behind because she was going to go up in a separate elevator,” he says. “Dr. Nguyen looked at her and said, ‘You can come with us.’”

In the cath lab, the team saw that Smith’s coronary artery was 100 percent blocked. Dr. Nguyen quickly placed a stent in the blocked artery to restore blood flow to the heart — a mere 15 minutes after Smith’s arrival at Methodist Richardson. This time well exceeded the national standard of 90 minutes.

Lessons learned

“I was just flabbergasted and amazed,” Smith says of the whole experience. After recuperating in the hospital for two days, he returned to his normal routine at home — with one exception.

“I’m working to quit smoking,” he says, and he urges others to do the same. Smith has no family history of heart disease and is at a healthy weight, but he’s smoked on and off for more than 10 years. “Smoking is the biggest part of my problem,” he says. “If you ever quit, do not start back up.”

If you’d like help to quit smoking, talk to your primary care provider. To find one at Methodist Richardson, go to the online physician directory or call 972-4 DR LINE (972-437-5463).

From the winter 2012 edition of Shine magazine.