STEGH’s Emergency Department Saved My Life

It was an ordinary January day on the farm. The sun was shining, and it was a bit cold, but I had gotten all the snow cleared from the night before. I was feeling good – a little tired, but I chalked it up to aging.

Fast forward to 5:00 pm that same day, and I was being admitted to St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital.

While freshening up for dinner, I fell on the bathroom floor. I was retching and short of breath – I had no pain, but I knew I was in trouble. I told my wife to get the keys; she had us into the car and at our local hospital within eight minutes.

I walked into Emergency myself. Yes, you read that right – I walked in. I got to the front desk and pointed at my chest, and the nurses did an ECG scan right there at triage. The scan revealed just how serious my situation was.

I was having a major heart attack (an ST segment elevation myocardial infraction, or STEMI, to be technical). Three of the four pathways in and out of my heart were fully blocked. The doctors and nurses quickly gave me the meds I needed to survive an ambulance ride to London for specialist care. With a heart attack, every second counts. The Emergency team’s quick actions saved my life.

Two and a half hours later I was able to call my wife and tell her I was going to be okay.

Now, nearly a year after my heart attack, my health is almost back to where it was before. I am swimming laps at the gym, I am teaching, I am still working on the farm and, most importantly, I get to spend time with my wife and two daughters.

I am so grateful that the Emergency doctors and nurses were so professional and knew exactly what to do – and that they had the equipment available to do their jobs. Like the ECG machine that set into motion the quick, lifesaving care I received. I thank each of them so much; they truly did save my life.

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