Life After a Massive Heart Attack

Life After a Massive Heart Attack


(soft music) – [Woman Talking] Downtown
cafe can I help you? – [Narrator] It’s a typical
day in this quaint cafe in downtown Live Oak, and the owner, Mark Saleh, is working
hard with his wife Tina, and staff to keep up with customer orders. The special soups, salads, and sandwiches Mark creates have earned a
reputation over the years, and the cafe is busy. Shortly after closing, it’s still busy, as some of the neighborhood kids Mark has coached in soccer
stop by for a visit. Time with them means everything to Mark. They were there the night
Mark nearly lost his life. It was a championship
game in March of 2012, when Mark knew clearly
something was terribly wrong. – I just felt a very
heavy push on my chest, and I just…within a minute
I could not even breathe and I got down on the
floor and I have my… The other coach with me, Chris Fry, said “should I call the
ambulance for you?”. I said just give me a minute, and then after that he did call the ambulance. – [Narrator] What Mark was
experiencing was a heart attack. Time was critical, and
he was flown to the ER at North Florida Regional Medical Center, where ER physician Dr. Amit Rawal and staff were ready and waiting. – I needed to make sure he
didn’t have something else going on that was
mimicking a heart attack. I’d interpreted EKG’s, x-rays, blood work, potentially order CAT
scans and other tests so very quickly to make sure that he didn’t have an alternative diagnosis. A blood clot in the lungs, for example. A tear in the main blood
vessel, an aortic dissection. These are all alternative diagnosis that could mimic a heart attack and in and of themselves
those are life threatening. At the same time as that,
I wanted to mobilize the cardiac cath team,
and get the cardiologist to bedside as quick as possible. – [Narrator] Mark’s heart attack was caused by total blockage
of the left anterior descending artery, known
by the abbreviation of LAD, and nicknamed the widow maker, because of how serious it can be. Interventional cardiologist
Dr. Andrew Smock, got Mark’s artery opened fast, translating into minimal
damage to heart muscle. – The doctors and the
nurses from North Florida did a great job, so they
saved my life, you know. It was not my time, so this
is my perspective on it is you know everything is a time. This was not my time. – [Narrator] In the months
after his heart attack, Mark has focused on his recovery, and doing all he can to protect
his heart in the future. While he cannot change his family history of heart problems, Mark
has stopped smoking, and he has reduced the stress in his life. He never ever thought he
would have a heart attack, and he hopes sharing his story will make other people think about it and understand they too could be at risk. – As soon as you feel that pain you better, you know,
just don’t dismiss it. And most of the people
will dismiss it, I would. I mean if it wasn’t that bad, I wouldn’t have known
that it’s a heart attack. It might have been, but
thank God somebody else knew. – [Narrator] On this day, Mark got to see some of those that cared for him, and deliver his thanks in person. – In healthcare, we come to work every day in large part for the ability to help in situations like this. To see Mark at his
restaurant, working every day with family, friends,
still coaching soccer, it makes all the difference for us. It felt terrific. – [Narrator] For Mark Saleh,
life is back to normal. But he’ll never forget what happened and the people who saved his life. (laughter) (soft music)