Patient Stories

Saved from Heart Attack's Grip

It was a Thursday afternoon in October, and Jeff was supposed to be on a service call in the hills outside of Tonasket, Washington. He ended up deciding not to go because he wasn’t feeling well. He was unusually tired, and his fatigue had been getting worse throughout the day. He was also experiencing chest pressure coupled with bouts of nausea and sweating. After going to wash up for dinner, Jeff returned to the living room and told his wife, Shanutia, that something was wrong, although he couldn’t tell her what. Shanutia is a nurse and recalls that while Jeff didn’t look well, she didn’t see any key signs of concern. “I was firing off a thousand questions trying to figure out what the actual complaint was and how I could help, but he wasn’t able to provide any specific answers,” said Shanutia. After several minutes Jeff returned to their bedroom and Shanutia followed. He stood in the bedroom for a few moments, looked at his wife and fell to the ground.

Jeff was unresponsive and Shanutia immediately called 911. She began CPR and continued until LifeLine Ambulance arrived. When the ambulance pulled up, she left Jeff on the floor to unlock the front door. Before they could return to Jeff, he came to and met them at the front door. He had no recollection of what had happened and was very confused. He finally agreed to be transported by EMS to North Valley Hospital in Tonasket, Washington. By this time, Jeff was weak and experiencing increased chest pain and pressure, obvious sweating, nausea, and vomiting—classic heart attack symptoms.

The emergency staff at the hospital obtained an EKG which determined Jeff was experiencing a very serious type of heart attack, known as a STEMI. The doctor immediately activated Life Flight Network for emergency transport. Jeff needed a higher level of care and lifesaving intervention, and he needed it fast. Life Flight Network responded quickly, preparing Jeff for transport to Confluence Health in Wenatchee, Washington. Shanutia recalls knowing, “Jeff was in the best hands possible, the hands of heroes.”

Jeff’s flight nurse, Natalie, talked his wife through the plan and made sure she had Shanutia’s phone number to provide her with an update once they arrived at the hospital. Once they had delivered Jeff to the ICU, the crew called to let her know he was safe and receiving the care he needed. Nine months later, Jeff is living an active life and continues to feel better each day. Jeff adds, “Life Flight Network truly lived up to their name that night, and we are eternally grateful.”


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