On the morning of August 21, 2022, 61-year-old Rick and his friend Michael were mountain biking through Mt. Spokane State Park. As a lifelong outdoor enthusiast and cyclist, the steep terrain and intense activity were nothing new to Rick.
On this day, however, something felt different. As Rick pedaled up the trail, he began to feel an unusual sense of fatigue. Rick told Michael he needed to sit for a moment to catch his breath. When that didn’t work, he tried lying down. With no improvement, Rick knew he was in trouble and asked Michael to get help. Michael rode down the mountain while Rick laid trailside in a cold sweat and called his wife to notify EMS.
Michael found two trail workers who were able to get a vehicle up to Rick and transport him to a rendezvous point where the local EMS team, American Medical Response (AMR), would meet him. Once AMR arrived, they determined Rick’s condition to be time sensitive as he was experiencing a cardiac event. They immediately contacted Life Flight Network to provide critical care and rapid transport to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Washington. Life Flight Network notified the hospital of Rick’s condition en route and were able to get him to there in minutes.
Upon arrival, Rick was met by a team of highly skilled staff who immediately jumped into action. Imaging showed that Rick was experiencing what is known as a “widow-maker” heart attack, caused by a blood clot. Rick underwent cardiac catheterization, restoring blood flow to the oxygen starved areas of his heart. He spent several days in the cardiac ICU and was released from the hospital just six days after the event.
“My doctor told me that without Life Flight Network, I wouldn’t have made it to the hospital alive,” said Rick. “While my experience with them was short, it enabled me to live the rest of my (hopefully) long life.”
Rick is beyond grateful for the collaborative team approach taken by his friend, trail workers, first responders, Life Flight Network, and Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. The “widow-maker” has a very high mortality rate, but Rick’s healthy lifestyle, awareness of his body, and the quick actions taken by his care providers led to the best possible outcome. With a positive attitude and outpatient cardiac rehab, Rick has made a full recovery and is back to living his best life on the trails.