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.

Dr. Christopher Dussel and Bill Regan

Two Heart Attacks, Six Months Apart

Pickleball champ Bill Regan knows all about collaborating for a winning result, but the most important team in his life was waiting just off the court, when two heart attacks struck in just six months.

Steve Momon

UH Community Hospitals Now “One-Stop Shop” for More Heart Patients

Avid walker Steve Momon came to a halt when he suddenly felt fatigue and tightness in his chest. He was admitted into the care of UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute, where the cardiovascular team discovered a blockage.

Alan Studt high on the mountains of Idaho with his girlfriend

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.

Albert's Story

Vein Bypass Surgery Helps an Active 81-Year-Old Enjoy a Pain-Free Life Again

Anthony's Story

Anthony's Story

Anthony Galas, single and scared, was looking for revival after surrendering his independence and livelihood to survive a heart transplant.

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Bobby's Story

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

Caroline Rarick gives a thumbs-up following her procedure

Caroline’s Story

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.

Cheri's Story

Cheri's Story

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.

Charles O’Shaughnessy, MD and Cheryl Ryan in the lobby of UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute

Cheryl’s Story

Grateful for the care she received, Cheryl Ryan recalls the frightening event that almost took her life.

Craig Horning dressed for auto racing

Craig’s Story

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.

Dani Sczerowski in boxing gloves

Danielle's Story

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.

Don Stadler pictured in hospital bed with visitor, cardiac surgeon Masumi Yamamuro, MD

Dan Stadler's Story

A Brecksville man with no cardiac history warns of ignoring heart attack symptoms after major surgery.

Dan's Story

Dan's Story

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.

David Diaz stands on a treadmill

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

Devi's Story

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.

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Doctor Michael Shaughnessy's Story

Eileen Horning and the team

Eileen'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.

Gregory Stefano, MD with Franklin Briggs at the UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute at UH Geauga Medical Center

Franklin’s Story

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.

Glynn Crawford with Dr. Barbara Williams

Glynn’s Story

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.

Helen's Story

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...

Ilissa Clark

Ilissa’s Story

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.

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James’ Story

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.

A smiling Jana Thomas at home with her infant daughter

Jana’s Story

Jana Thomas knew something was wrong a few days after giving birth to her second daughter. When her hometown hospital ran tests that didn’t immediately identify Jana’s problem, she was recommended to University Hospitals.

Jason Korber, cardiac arrest survivor

Jason’s Story

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.

Jeff and Rita Colvin

Jeff's Story

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.

Jim's Story

Jim's Story

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.

John Woloszyn

John's Story

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.

John Potocnik being interviewed in his home

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.

Kara King and fiancé Bob Pope

Kara's Story

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.

Katrina Cox gives the thumbs up with Dr. James Cireddu at UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute

Katrina’s Story

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.

Larry Sekula

Larry’s Story

On June, 2016, 68-year-old Larry Sekula's heart was no longer able to pump the blood his body required.

Judith Mackall and Lauren Arnold

Lauren's Story

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.

Lee Rankin

Lee’s Story

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.

Limb salvage procedure in operating theater

Linda’s Story

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 talks about her experience at the UH Harrington Heart and Vascular Institute

Lisa’s Story

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.

Liz and Gary Wagner

Liz’s Story

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."

UH transplant patient Lynn Ulatowski

Lynn’s Story

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.

Manny Rodriguez with Marwan Ghazoul, MD

Manny’s Story

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.

Marilyn Buckholz enjoys a night out

Marilyn’s Story

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.

Dr. Chantal ElAmm and Megan Roberts

Megan’s Story

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 with David Zidar, MD

Mike's Story

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

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.

85-year-young Mildred Brown

Mildred’s Story

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.

Patricia Weldon

Patricia’s Story

At 71, Patricia Weldon was going strong, enjoying retirement, her hobbies and socializing with friends. Until one day her right leg started to swell.

Raheem Stanfield

Raheem's Story

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, pictured in 2004

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.

Heart attack patient Richard Mack and the Shock Team at University Hospitals

Richard’s Story

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.

Sarah, her husband and their three daughters

Sarah’s Story

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.

Sierra Prindle and her husband

Diagnosis Hope

After years of constant, intense pain in the back of her left leg, a young mother found diagnosis and treatment at University Hospitals.

Teresa Harrison

Teresa’s Story

When cancer treatment impacted Teresa Harrison’s heart, she turned to UH’s cardio-oncology team of experts for life-saving care.

Walter Carson

Walter’s Story

Cardiology patient Walter Carson donates one of his paintings to UH Portage Medical Center.

William Moulton and Anjan Gupta, MD

UH Portage Doctor Saves Patient’s Life Twice

When William Moulton was diagnosed with bronchitis, the disease led to a life-saving procedure when a CT scan of his chest revealed calcifications in his coronary arteries.