Mom is Ill, Daughter Googles Heart Attack Symptoms

Many of us turn to Google to get a quick answer to a question. For 17-year-old Tressa Dillion, the urgent question of the moment was “Could my mom be having a heart attack?” Tressa explains, “Mom’s face was gray. I remembered that Rosie O’Donnell had a heart attack; that’s what made me think she might be having one. I Googled ‘heart attack symptoms.’”

In an instant, Tressa confirmed what she feared – yes, her 46-year-old mom certainly could be having a heart attack. And she knew time was of the essence. Today, Tressa’s mom, Evella, is thanking her family and TriHealth for her full recovery from what could have been a fatal heart attack.

“I’m Too Young to Have a Heart Attack”

Evella’s chest hurt and she felt like she couldn’t breathe. She was nauseated and sweating profusely. “I thought, ‘you’re too young to have a heart attack.’ I thought maybe it could be a hot flash.” Tressa and her grandmother considered driving Evella to the hospital, but Evella told them to call 911. “They told us later if we would have driven, she would have died,” reflects Tressa. Almost an hour had elapsed since Evella first noticed her symptoms. Looking back, Evella wishes she and her family had acted more quickly.

When paramedics arrived, an EKG did not indicate a heart attack, but her symptoms said otherwise. They raced to TriHealth’s Bethesda Arrow Springs. A second EKG on the way indicated a heart attack in progress. They transmitted the EKG to the Emergency Department at Arrow Springs and the staff was ready for Evella when she got there. Everyone had a job to do, and they did it quickly and efficiently.

Planning Ahead for Heart Attack Patients

Bethesda Arrow Springs has plans in place to ensure that heart attack patients are quickly stabilized and sped to life-saving at treatment Bethesda North. “Our goal is to get patients to the cardiac cath lab within the national benchmark of 90 minutes – even though that cath lab is 17 miles away,” explains Rian Long RN. In this case, it meant having Rian ride in the ambulance with Evella to administer medicine on the way.

Once at Bethesda North, Evella was in the cath lab in minutes, undergoing artery-opening angioplasty. Within 78 minutes of her initial arrival at Arrow Springs Emergency Department, cardiologist Robert L. Coith, Jr., MD had opened the clogged artery causing the heart attack. During the procedure, a blood clot broke free and blocked another artery, stopping Evella’s heart. Had this happened at home, it might have been fatal, but quick medical response brought her back.

Incident Inspires Tressa to Consider Nursing as a Career

Today, Evella is recovering and faithfully attending cardiac rehab at the TriHealth Fitness & Health Pavilion, and Tressa is considering a career as a nurse. In fact, she’s doing an internship at Arrow Springs. When she arrived on her first day, she met nurse Rian Long. “I know you!” Tressa exclaimed when she saw Rian. “You’re the nurse who rode to Bethesda North in the ambulance with my mom!” In an instant, Rian remembered the harrowing story, which happily had a great outcome. “That’s what we plan for,” concludes Rian.

Tags Heart