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Rapid-Response Heart Attack Team at Memorial Regional Hospital Saves 64-Year-Old


February 2005 — "I felt perfectly fine until about five minutes before I collapsed," says 64-year-old Eliahu. "I started to sweat profusely, it was as if a bucket of water had been poured over my head. I later learned that I also turned white as snow."

On March 26, 2004, Eliahu was in his physician's office picking up a prescription for his wife when he had a massive heart attack. Donald Weiss, DO, a family practitioner on the medical staff at Memorial Regional Hospital, immediately made arrangements to have Eliahu transported to Memorial Regional Hospital for treatment by the Heart Attack Team. "My wife told me there were at least 15 people waiting for me when I arrived."

Bassel Ibrahim, MD, Director of Interventional Cardiology at Memorial Regional Hospital, was one of those people. "He started working on me in the elevator," says Eliahu. "I remember thinking I was going to die. I later learned that my main artery had been 100 percent blocked and Dr. Ibrahim inserted a stent to clear it."

Eliahu shares that although he has a strong family history of heart disease, he had never had any symptoms. However, he did not exercise regularly and he smoked for 50 years. Catheterization and stenting of the blocked artery gave Eliahu a new lease on life.


After five days at Memorial Regional Hospital, where Eliahu says "everything was perfect," he was discharged. And just two days later, on his birthday, he took a stress test. "I passed the whole thing," he says. On April 14, he flew to Israel for his son's wedding. When he returned, he had another stress test, just one month after the first. "I passed that, too," he says.

The outpatient cardiac rehabilitation program at Memorial Regional Hospital Fitness Center helped with Eliahu's recovery. By the end of May, he was back to work as a handyman. "Why should I stay home when I feel so good?" says Eliahu. "Besides, it's better for my marriage."

Today, Eliahu uses his treadmill daily, watches what he eats and takes medication to help prevent excessive blood clotting and reduce his risk for heart attack. "I felt good before my heart attack," he says, "but now I feel excellent. I feel like a young guy."

If you are concerned about your risk for heart disease or stroke and would like a referral to one of our highly qualified physicians, call Memorial Physician Referral Service toll-free at (800) 944-DOCS.