North Shore Medical Center Saves Man's Life After Surprise Heart Attack

Jun 19, 2019

Former North Shore Medical Center patient recounts his experience with doctor during and after treatment

To my great surprise I had a heart attack at home during boxing training with my trainer. I thought I was having gas pains. My wife had the presence of mind to look at me and told me, you’re going to the hospital. If it wasn’t for her I probably would have never went to the hospital. We went out to the car and she took another look at me and decided we needed to call 911. The emergency personnel came and were debating whether it was a heart attack or a case of anxiety. By the time I got to the hospital, the doctor who was on call made the determination it was a heart attack.

David MarkusTen minutes later, I was in the operating room (the Cath lab) with Dr. Juan Velasquez who saved my life. He put a stent in and I was out of the hospital in two days. My life today is because of him. Three weeks after I went to the hospital I was able to go on a vacation to Mexico for a week.

Dr. Velasquez answered my questions directly. He spoke to me one-on-one and never in a condescending way. He was always supportive and constructive. Dr. Velasquez is someone I have a lot of confidence in and I will be forever grateful to him. He’s a great doctor and has a fantastic bedside manner.

I didn’t have the traditional warning signs you’ve heard about for a heart attack like stiffness in the arms or chest. I had what I thought was a gas attack. I took a break from the boxing training I was doing and after 10 minutes I realized that it wasn’t going away and something was wrong. I don’t have a history of heart disease in my family. It just never occurred to me that I was having a heart attack.

Dr. Velasquez explained to me that a piece of plaque in my artery had broken off, a very random event that could’ve happened at any time. He told me that if I hadn’t gotten to the hospital when I did that things could have been worse. Dr. Velasquez said I had 90 minutes from when that piece of plaque broke off and clogged my heart for them to put a stent in and open up the blood flow. I was at about the 65-minute mark.

Most of my heart wasn’t receiving blood. Dr. Velasquez explained to me that once a piece of plaque breaks off and clogs the heart the way it did in my case, you have a 90-minute window to seek treatment or it may be fatal. He told me that my blocked artery is nicknamed the widow maker because so many people pass away from it randomly. Fortunately, that didn’t happen to me. It rarely presents symptoms. I was in good hands. I was in a place where people knew what they were doing. Reaction time was quick and they took care of me and saved my life.

The stent procedure itself was not painful. Once they gave me the morphine I wasn’t in any pain or distress. I was in the hospital just for recuperating and monitoring. After I came out of the operating room after several hours, I felt fine. I was ready to go right then but they insisted on keeping me for a while to make sure everything was OK.

I am in the best shape of my life. I feel great. I have a good mental attitude and I feel I have been given a second chance at life that I’m going to use.

I am so thankful that my heart attack led me to Dr. Juan Velasquez who saved my life. He’s my doctor today. I have complete confidence and faith in him. I am glad I was taken to North Shore Medical Center in Miami where I received the best treatment anyone could ever have. The nurses at the North Shore Medical Center were attentive. If I had to be taken somewhere I am glad I was taken there. They literally saved my life.

Dr. Velasquez’s office was a pleasure to go to; it was convenient and the parking lot was easy to get in and out of. Most importantly, Dr. Velasquez pays attention to you and it’s a pleasure to go to his office.

Dr. Velasquez told me live my life to the fullest and that’s what I am doing.

David Markus, a Miami native, is a criminal defense attorney.

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