“I Survived a Heart Attack”
Tim Eiland, a school teacher, baseball coach and lifelong resident of Winona, Mississippi is preparing for the upcoming school year.
How It All Began
For a few scary moments last year, it was something Tim and his family members thought might not be possible. During a routine day in the classroom, he started “feeling funny.” The next thing he knew, Tim, at only 46, was having a heart attack.
The Turning Point
The scare didn’t last long, though. St. Dominic’s helicopter flew the 85 miles from Jackson to Winona, picked Tim up and – within 19 minutes of landing at St. Dominic’s – had his arteries open. Tim was already out of Cardiac Cath Lab and waiting in a room by the time his family members arrived at the hospital.
Tim had always heard that St. Dominic’s was the ideal place to go for heart surgery patients, but he never dreamed that someone like him – more than an hour away – would be able to take advantage of St. Dominic’s well-known emergency cardiac care if needed.
Thanks to the passion and innovation of Mississippi’s leading team of Cardiologists and nurses, St. Dominic’s initiated a Level I Heart Attack Protocol to decrease “door to balloon” (D2B) time for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) patients. It is the only program of its kind in the state.
To develop this emergency response process, St. Dominic’s reached out to hospitals across the central region of Mississippi and local EMS professionals to improve communication and streamline the process for treating heart attack patients before they arrive at the hospital.
“When we received a call from EMS in Winona that a school teacher had had a heart attack,” said Harper Stone, M.D. a Cardiologist at St. Dominic’s Mississippi Heart Institute, “we knew we had to act fast – as with any heart attack time is everything.”
St. Dominic’s uses a procedure it developed to transmit medical information, like an EKG, for rapid physician interpretation. When a heart attack is apparent, as it was in Tim’s case, a lateral page is sent to St. Dominic’s Cardiac Cath Lab team. An interventional cardiologist is simultaneously contacted so the team is ready to instantly admit a patient when he arrives at St. Dominic’s emergency department (ER).
“They were ready for me when I got there,” Tim said.
This program allows St. Dominic’s to beat the national standard — which is 90 minutes — for the time it should take to open a patient’s arteries upon arrival at the ER. It is also one the many clinical reasons St. Dominic’s is ranked No. 1 in heart attack and stroke care among all Mississippi hospitals by HealthGrades and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Recovery and Life After Open Heart Surgery
Due to the timely and excellent care he received, Eiland is home getting ready for another baseball season.