ER & Cardiac Team's Exceptional Response Time Saves Father of Two

Vol. 16, No. 3
Summer/Fall 2006

  • Scoliosis Patient Stands Taller after Complex Surgeries

  • Winthrop Specialists Named to Top Doctors List

  • Renovation Project Extended Thanks to Senator Balboni

  • Winthrop Opens Beautifully Expanded Admitting Office

  • ER & Cardiac Team's Exceptional Response Time Saves Father of Two

  • Winthrop Plays Major Role in County-Wide Emergency Preparedness Drill

  • Winthrop's Department of Pediatrics Admitted to Prestigious National Association

  • Don't let obesity take you from them

  • Cancer Survivor's Inspiring "Mask of Courage" Evokes Hope

  • Winthrop Appoints Board of Directors Chairman

  • Former Winthrop President Passes Away

  • CyberKnife Restores Mother's Hearing and Preserves Grandfather's Active Lifestyle

  • Winthrop Introduces Toilet-Training Program

  • Winthrop First LI Hospital to Pioneer Use of Advanced Physician Order Entry Technology

  • Citigroup Foundation and Garden City Family Support Cancer Center for Kids

  • Charlie's Champions Rally in Support of Cancer Center for Kids

  • Horticultural Therapy Program Branches Out Thanks to Fidelity Investments

  • West Islip Family Thanks Pediatric Center

  • Garden City Second Grader Dedicates Birthday to Young Patients

  • Jets Fans' Contributions Benefit Pediatric Patients

  • Kids for Care Hosts Dinner Supporting Pediatric ER Patients

  • Diabetes Education Center Partners with American Idol Celebrity for Important Discussion

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  • Claire Nugent is grateful to have her husband of 25 years still by her side and in good health. Back in March, the Nugents faced a scare that could have forever changed the face of their family.

    Owen Nugent, a 54-year-old father of two from Floral Park, is a proud, hardworking bricklayer. Experiencing minor chest and throat pain, he blamed the discomfort on his tough workdays and a bout of heartburn. Certain the pain would dissipate once he returned home, he was surprised when it did not.

    Later, after shoveling snow, his aches amazingly receded. He brushed aside the few twinges that persisted.

    "Then, while I was shaving one morning, I suddenly felt a pain surge down into the bone of my arm," he explained. "I knew then that it was urgent and time to get to the hospital."

    Judging by her husband's calm demeanor, Mrs. Nugent figured they had time to spare. She drove about four miles through three towns to Winthrop--a hospital she knew she could rely on for personal care.

    Mr. Nugent insisted she drop him off and then find a parking space despite her insistence on accompanying him to the Emergency Department (ED). He headed inside and only moments later fell to the floor, suffering massive cardiac arrest in the ED.

    "As I walked through the door, he had the attack," Mrs. Nugent recalls. "The physicians were right there and immediately started working on him. The care was just incredible."

    While Gerald Brody, MD, FACEP, Chairman of Ambulatory Care, and Scott Eldberger, MD, FACEP, Assistant Director of the ED, resuscitated Mr. Nugent, ED staff escorted his wife to a nearby room and comforted her during those critical first minutes.

    "They took me right away to give me privacy," she said. "I really appreciated being brought to a private place. All the while the nurses kept me abreast of the situation."

    In the meantime, Mr. Nugent was immediately transported to Winthrop's state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization lab for a life-saving angioplasty in which a balloon-tipped catheter was inserted into one of his blood vessels and inflated to open the channel, thereby improving blood flow. The team then placed a medicated stent, coated with a pharmacological agent that interferes with the process of restenosis, or blockage reformation.

    Housed in Winthrop's Miller Interventional Cardiology Pavilion, the state-of-the-art catheterization laboratory permits both cardiac and vascular procedures to be performed in the same space.
    Within 58 minutes of walking through the ED doors--62 minutes sooner than the state-wide recommended two-hour door-to-balloon time--the procedure was completed and Mr. Nugent was transported to recovery. He returned home three days later. Quality Cardiac Care Winthrop's cardiac services continue to achieve a high ranking by the New York State Department of Health (DOH). In the latest DOH report on angioplasties for the 2001-03 three-year cycle, Winthrop's interventional cardiology program had the lowest risk-adjusted mortality rate on Long Island for all angioplasty procedures--both in emergency and non-emergency cases.

    "Over the past decade Winthrop's team of interventional cardiologists has been consistently recognized among the finest in New York," said Kevin Marzo, MD, Chief of Winthrop's Division of Cardiology and Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory. "This year, with the help of Mary Arenas, RN, Winthrop's Cardiology Quality Improvement Coordinator, and the collaboration of the ED staff, the angioplasty team has routinely opened up blocked arteries in under 90 minutes--well below the national benchmarks for treatment of acute myocardial infarction."

    Dr. Brody explained: "The fact that Mr. Nugent suffered no long-term damage is a direct result of the prompt efforts of our highly skilled team, matched with the best treatment within an excellent response timeframe."

    "Every minute that an artery remains blocked, more damage to the heart muscle occurs," said Ms. Arenas.

    "We are very proud of the collaboration between the ED and the on-call angioplasty team comprised of doctors, nurses, physician assistants and cardiovascular technologists. They are consistently helping to save the lives of patients having cardiac emergencies."

    According to the American Heart Association, these are the signs that can indicate a heart attack:
    • Chest discomfort. Discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
    • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
    • Shortness of breath. May occur with or without chest discomfort.
    • Other signs: Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

    "I shouldn't be here," Mr. Nugent recently said. "This whole experience shocked me back into reality. If I had understood the initial signs of a heart attack, I would have known that it was time to do something positive. My main mistake was not calling for an ambulance because I didn't think it was severe. Winthrop got me back to life."

    With a changed perspective, Mr. Nugent now listens to his body and has since lost 30 pounds. According to his physician, one of his coronary arteries had been completely clogged.

    "I've awakened to the fact that I have to stay on top of my cholesterol because if I don't, I am going to pay the price sooner or later. It's inevitable," he explained.

    Mrs. Nugent added: "It is important that people don't ignore the symptoms no matter how atypical they seem; head to the hospital or call 911 as soon as possible. Owen was lucky the attack occurred at Winthrop. The care was great."

    "Winthrop's technologically advanced catheterization labs keep us at the forefront of cardiology and blood vessel care throughout the region," explained Dr. Marzo. "Patients like Mr. Nugent benefit because our highly skilled interventional cardiologists, using sophisticated technology, are able to evaluate the extent of heart damage and offer relief through pioneering, non-surgical methods."

    For more information about Winthrop's nationally recognized cardiac and emergency services, call 1-866-WINTHROP.

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