Patients Share Stories of Survival After Experiencing Life-Threatening Heart Events
The following stories are stories of survival. These patients came to University Hospitals for help when the unthinkable happened to them; many of them had no idea that they were even at risk for a heart disease. Find out about the symptoms these patients experienced, and about the life-saving treatment they received through UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute that led them down the road to recovery.
Just one day after turning 18, in August of 2020, Caroline Rarick experienced a horrific trauma. Following a jet ski mishap, she looked down and saw bone with muscle hanging from her leg. A trauma team assembled at UH Cleveland Medical Center.
University Hospitals Doctor Saves Man’s Leg
After 72-year-old John Potocnik collapsed in his bedroom, tests revealed extreme blood sugar levels that caused his left foot to be cold and lifeless. Headed for amputation, John’s podiatrist recommended Dr. Mehdi Shishehbor for a second opinion.
Here Comes the Sun
A diagnostic cardiac test gave the Alan Studt a sobering and immediate goal: to undergo further cardiac evaluation and, if needed, a stent replacement or bypass surgery before a serious heart attack struck.
Vein Bypass Surgery Helps an Active 81-Year-Old Enjoy a Pain-Free Life Again
Anthony Galas, single and scared, was looking for revival after surrendering his independence and livelihood to survive a heart transplant.
Bobby Shea died five times on the way to the hospital. But University Hospitals Parma Medical Center and Brooklyn EMS weren't going to let him go without a fight
That Monday night in September 2016 started like any other for Twinsburg resident Cheri Eyink, uneventful, routine. Suddenly, a crushing pain across her back, from armpit to armpit, drove her to the bedroom floor and changed her life.
Grateful for the care she received, Cheryl Ryan recalls the frightening event that almost took her life.
When business traveler Craig Horning suffered a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm, the fast-acting heart & vascular team at University Hospitals saved his life with a minimally invasive procedure.
In 2019, 52-year-old Danielle Sczerowski was driving to work. Suddenly she felt a sharp pain in her chest and began to sweat profusely. Panicking, she detoured from her route to work and immediately drove herself to the emergency room.
Dan Stadler's Story
A Brecksville man with no cardiac history warns of ignoring heart attack symptoms after major surgery.
Many factors can determine a person's outcome after suffering a heart-related medical event, but for Dan Steinbrenner, it was where he went into cardiac arrest, and who saw it happen, that made all the difference.
A Breath of Relief
After going to bed as his usual time, David Diaz was awakened by a tingling sensation in his arm. He tried to shake it off but sweating and chest pain followed, so he drove the eight miles to University Hospitals St. John Medical Center in Westlake.
Devi Snively didn’t have any risk factors for heart disease - at 49 she was physically fit and generally healthy. But while on vacation in New Zealand, she had a heart attack. Devi turned to UH cardiologist, Heather Gornik, MD, to find out why.
Doctor Michael Shaughnessy's Story
Monday started unremarkably for Eileen Horning. The electrical-sector sales administrator for Eaton Corp. spent the morning at the international power-management company’s Beachwood offices.
A Northeast Ohio man who experienced what likely would have been a deadly heart attack is home with his family thanks to the steadfast medical professionals determined to save his life.
After a hospital stay to treat his cardiomyopathy and abdominal symptoms, Glynn Crawford went home wearing a special vest that automatically delivers a treatment shock if an abnormal heart rhythm is detected. It worked and likely saved his life.
Short of breath while walking into her doctor's office at University Hospitals Parma Medical Center, the grandmother of five was expecting bad news. At 89, the widow knew she couldn't undergo the lengthy recovery of open heart surgery, which her...
Feb. 1, 2018, was supposed to be a day of professional triumph for Ilissa Clark. Ilissa and her family now remember that day for a far different reason.
James Bates of Mantua began experiencing chest pains. Six minutes after arriving at UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute, a 100 percent blockage of his proximal right coronary artery was discovered and relieved.
Doctors had no idea how many minutes Jason Korber was dead at home before family attempts at CPR and a quick ambulance transfer brought him to UH Parma Medical Center’s Emergency Department.
On the morning of October 2, 2017, Jeff Colvin awoke with pain in his chest. The long-haul driver from Alabama had spent the night in his 18-wheel semi tractor-trailer before heading out for another full day on the road.
On February 2016, Jim Burry visited Argentina and hiked in the Andes Mountains. In just one day, the 76-year-old from Cleveland Heights hiked 10 miles - on an incline the equivalent of 80 floors - and recorded 30,000 steps.
When 57 year old John Woloszyn decided to indulge a spontaneous craving for BBQ, he had no idea that his choice of restaurant would save his life.
Kara King was born with cystic fibrosis, a chronic disease that affects every organ in the body. But it wasn't until 2004 when she gave birth to her son Draven that the disease began to take its toll.
At just 39 years old, Katrina started experiencing troubling symptoms, including difficulty breathing and a lack of energy. She sought care with University Hospitals Bedford Medical Center.
On June, 2016, 68-year-old Larry Sekula's heart was no longer able to pump the blood his body required.
When 28-year-old Lauren Arnold experienced sporadic episodes of heart palpitations and neck pain, she did what most of us do – rested for a couple of minutes until it went away.
When 69 year old Lee Rankin was advised by his cardiologist to undergo cardiac rehabilitation, he listened. He lost weight, gained muscle mass and now enjoys greatly improved overall health thanks to his efforts and those of his rehab team.
After a diabetic ulcer appeared on her left toe, circulation to Linda’s left foot couldn’t be restored. She was headed toward a below-the-knee amputation, but she credits a second opinion with Dr. Mehdi Shishehbor with saving her left foot and leg.
Lisa Garner thought she was experiencing anxiety. However, she had an underlying condition called fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD), a blood vessel disorder that affects mostly middle-aged women, which increased her risk of a heart attack.
It was Mother's Day 2014, and Gary Wagner was doing some yard work. "I came in because I was not feeling well," Gary recalls. "I had lot of back pain. I went upstairs in the bathroom to get into the Jacuzzi. Liz heard me fall."
In 2019, UH completed 195 organ transplants, the largest volume in the hospital’s history. By July of 2020, the team completed 182 organ transplants, on track to more than double numbers from last year.
When 58-year-old Manny Rodriguez, an experienced runner, felt some frightening symptoms after a 13-mile run, he turned to Marwan Ghazoul, MD, and the heart and vascular experts at UH Elyria Medical Center for help.
An innovative heart failure sensor implant is helping University Hospitals heart failure specialists monitor patients remotely – enabling them to adjust medications and prevent re-hospitalizations.
Megan Roberts was in her second day back to work at Cline Plumbing after seven weeks off with her newborn son, her third child. "I had chest pains," she recalls of the September Day back in 2015, "and my boss took me to the local ER."
Mike DeWalt squeezed his wife’s hand one last time before he died. There wasn’t much time left – everything was going dark.
Mike Webster's Story
When Mike Webster's daughter, Wendy Yeary, suggested that he have a cardiac computed tomography (CT) imaging test for coronary artery calcium scoring, he thought it would be a waste of time.
When carotid artery disease significantly increased her risk for stroke, University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute physicians utilized an innovative procedure to help keep Mildred living the life she enjoys.
At 71, Patricia Weldon was going strong, enjoying retirement, her hobbies and socializing with friends. Until one day her right leg started to swell.
Seconds before going into cardiac arrest after a basketball game with friends at Case Western Reserve University, Raheem Stanfield told a friend he might need an ambulance.
The Read Family’s Story
In 1976, 52-year-old Louise Read came to cardiologist Michel Farah, MD for treatment for congestive heart failure. This was the start of a case that Dr. Farah has followed for 42 years and counting.
Richard Mack was outside raking leaves when he started experiencing severe chest pain. At the ER, doctors determined that he was having a heart attack and the UH Shock Team was called into action.
In 2017, when Sarah was pregnant with her first child, she began having excruciating shooting pain down her left leg. The cause was a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot in the deep veins which can be life-threatening.
When cancer treatment impacted Teresa Harrison’s heart, she turned to UH’s cardio-oncology team of experts for life-saving care.
Cardiology patient Walter Carson donates one of his paintings to UH Portage Medical Center.