ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — A heart attack survivor got the chance Tuesday to meet the people who saved his life.
A stateline hospital held a luncheon to celebrate the reunion. Doctors said that the man had a massive blockage. The medical team at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center used state-of-the-art technology to save him.
It was a remarkable team effort.
“I’d just like to thank everybody at the hospital, and paramedics and doctors and everybody,” said Mark Pohl, Navy veteran and heart attack survivor. “They’re truly amazing.”
Pohl’s day started out just like any other last August. The Navy veteran was marching in a parade in Mendota, Illinois, when he began to feel ill. He went home and became unresponsive.
Paramedics performed CPR before rushing him to OSF Saint Paul Medical Center in Mendota. He was then transferred to OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford.
The heart attack was so severe that they needed more than a stent to fix it.
“That wasn’t enough,” said Dr. Samer Mowakeaa, interventional cardiology at OSF. “The heart was still weak and so under stress that we had to support it with a heart pump, and not just one heart pump, but two heart pumps on each side of the heart.”
One of the main arteries in Pohl’s heart was 100% blocked.
“I will never forget the time we implanted it, when his heart was in complete standstill,” Mowakeaa said. “There was absolutely no pulsations. The heart was not contracting at all, so there’s no doubt in my mind that he would not have survived that time without the support of the pump.”
Pohl was in the hospital for 11 days, and does not remember the first four. He is now back at work and enjoying his life.
“Working out again in the afternoons, walking on the treadmill in the mornings,” he said. “Basically, do just about everything I did before.”
The quick actions of the paramedics helped increase his chances of survival.
“You can fix the heart all you want, but CPR is what revived the heart and allowed the blood to flow to his brain,” Mowakeaa said.
Pohl appreciates his life and the people who saved it.
“These guys are just absolute heroes,” he said. “They are awesome, and they don’t get enough recognition. They are amazing, just totally amazing.”
Heart disease is one of the most common causes of death, and it can happen to anyone. Residents should make sure to know the signs of a heart attack or take a class to learn basic CPR.
They never know when they could need it save a life.