Race Against the Clock

Race Against the Clock

Ricky Hedrick experienced chest pain for several days before it occurred to him that he might be having a heart attack. One morning on his way to work, following many days of discomfort, Hedrick started to feel worse but made his first service call anyway. On the way to his second call, however, he noticed his left arm was starting to go numb. After driving to his home in rural Worth County, Hedrick took a few aspirin, sat down in his recliner and placed a call for help. Within minutes, he was under the care of Phoebe Worth Emergency Medical Services (EMS), who confirmed his suspicions -- a heart attack.

Once in the ambulance, the attending EMT instructed the driver to head straight to Phoebe in Albany. “I told him to not spare the horses, but don’t kill me,” recalls Hedrick, who recently celebrated his 63rd birthday. En route to Phoebe’s main campus, Hedrick was given nitroglycerin and medicine for pain but remained conscious through the transport. The EMS team performed a pre-hospital EKG, which was interpreted by James Black, MD, in the emergency center as STEMI or ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction -- a heart attack.

Met by cardiologist, Stephen Souther, MD, in the emergency center, Hedrick was quickly prepped for the cardiac catheterization lab where interventional cardiologist, Russell Jones, MD, inserted a stent into his heart. The entire process was completed within a mere 62 minutes and undoubtedly saved Hedrick’s life. “There were many doctors involved with my care. Every one of them had a wonderful bedside manner. They sat down and took the time to speak with my wife and me. We never felt rushed. Any questions we had, they answered.”

Today, Hedrick warns others about the risks of ignoring signs of heart trouble. “Men have aches and pains all the time. If we were to run to the hospital every time we had a pain, we’d never leave. But this was different.”

“There’s going to be something in the back of your mind that tells you this is not right, this is not normal. Don’t ignore it. I am so grateful to have Phoebe in our community. I would not be here if it weren’t for the specialists and technology that they provide.”

Photo: Worth County resident, Ricky Hedrick, recently received a life-saving procedure. He attributes the success to the well-orchestrated team response by the EMS, emergency center and cardiology physicians.


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