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Fremont Man Urges Everyone with Chest Pain to Get Immediate Care

Fremont Man Urges Everyone with Chest Pain to Get Immediate Care

Washington Hospital is a Designated Cardiac Receiving Center

Two days before Roger Wood’s 70th birthday, he started having chest pain. He was washing dishes and felt pain on his right side under his ribs. He thought he had pulled a muscle and decided to lie down, but he couldn’t get comfortable. It turns out Roger was having a heart attack.

“My message to everyone is don’t be a hero,” Roger urged. “If you feel pain in your chest and it doesn’t go away, get to the hospital. I wasn’t short of breath and I wasn’t dizzy, but the pain got worse, so my wife called 911. When the paramedics came, they put monitors on me and told me I was having a heart attack.”

Fortunately for Roger, who lives in Fremont, the closest hospital was Washington Hospital, a designated cardiac receiving center. That means it has the facilities, technology and physicians needed to provide immediate diagnostic tests and the interventions necessary to save lives. In accordance with the American Heart Association recommendation, Washington Hospital is committed to getting heart attack victims into the Cardiac Catheterization Lab to restore blood flow to the heart within 90 minutes or less, which means better outcomes for patients like Roger.

“When I got to the Hospital, my cardiologist was there,” he added. “I thought that was a lucky coincidence, but I found out later he was part of a cardiac team that was notified when I was on my way to Washington Hospital. They acted quickly and I received excellent care.”

Roger was treated by Dr. Rohit Sehgal, a cardiologist with Washington Township Medical Foundation. He underwent emergency angioplasty and a stent was placed in his artery to hold it open. Angioplasty is a procedure used to open blocked arteries and restore blood flow to the heart muscle without open-heart surgery.

A long, thin tube called a catheter is inserted into a blood vessel and guided to the blocked coronary artery. The catheter has a tiny balloon at its tip and when it is in place, the balloon is inflated at the narrowed area of the heart artery, opening it up so blood can flow through. A stent is a tiny, expandable metal mesh coil that is put into the newly opened area of the artery to keep it from narrowing or closing again.

Pain Went Away

“After the stent was in, the pain went away,” Roger noted. “I stayed in the Hospital a few days to make sure I was stable and everything was good. Six weeks later I had another stent put in my other artery.”

Roger said he knew he had plaque in his arteries causing a blockage. He had an appointment to see his cardiologist, but he had the heart attack before he could get to it.

“I walk 4 to 5 miles a day, five days a week, so I didn’t have any kind of realization it was a big problem,” he explained. “But a couple weeks before my heart attack, I did have some twinges in my chest while I was walking. I stopped for a few seconds and it went away, so I resumed my normal pace. But now I see it’s important to pay attention to those feelings.”

He said he’s fortunate everything happened so fast for him the night of his heart attack. “I believe the paramedics were already in touch with the Hospital,” Roger added.

Washington Hospital works with paramedics in the field so the Emergency Department is prepared to receive a heart attack patient. Paramedics send EKG results to the Hospital so the Cath Lab Team can be ready when the patient arrives. This is the reason it is important to call 911, rather than drive to the Hospital.

Roger was able to get back to his active life soon after he had the stents placed in his arteries. Since retiring from his job at the state unemployment insurance program about 10 years ago, he has been a crossing guard for his local school. “I like being a crossing guard,” he added. “I walk a half mile each way to my post. Then I get to see the kids.”

For more information about the heart program at Washington Hospital, visit