Emergency Department Patient Story
Keith Geissert experienced a life-threatening heart attack. Within 24 minutes of his arrival at Memorial Hospital Belleville, he was on the road to recovery.
What happened the day of your heart attack?
I was out doing some errands, and I stopped to walk a lap at the park. I walked a lap, got in my truck, and came home. No sooner than I got in the house and was standing at the table, my chest started hurting. It kept progressively getting worse, and I started sweating and had to go to the bathroom. I told my wife I wasn't feeling good, and I just kept telling her about my chest. She said, "I'm gonna call 9-1-1." I said, "Well, why don't you give it a couple minutes?" She said, "I'm not waiting. I'm gonna call 9-1-1." So, she called 9-1-1, and they said to give me an aspirin. After that, the ambulance was there in just a few minutes it seemed like. They were there pretty quickly.
What happened once the ambulance arrived?
They came in, and I was on the couch. They hooked me up and said, "As we speak, you're having a heart attack." We went out to the ambulance and got in. As we were going down the road, I remember a driver asking me, "Do you have a hospital preference?" Right after that, he said, "I think we're going to go to Memorial, because they've got a crack team of heart doctors there." I said, "That's fine with me," because I thought the EMS staff knows more than I do and have been in these places. So, they called Memorial. On the way, they told me, "When we get to Memorial, things are going to happen quick, because time is everything." When we got there, they unloaded me out of the ambulance and started down the hall. I looked down and saw all these people standing there.
After arriving at Memorial, how quickly did things progress?
Next thing you know, I was in Memorial, and I started to say something about my clothes. One of the nurses cut my clothes on both sides and ripped them off. Then, the doctor came in, and they ended up putting me on the table. I told one of the nurses, "I'm feeling a little nervous." He said, "Well, we'll give you something." They must have given me something because I was in and out. I looked up, and I could see the monitor of your heart. When I looked over, I saw a nurse there and said, "Are they about to get started?" He kind of had a little snicker on his face, and he says, "Man, they're already done." I said, "I didn't feel anything." But, I was cold and kind of shaking. The nurse brought these big blankets, which were really warm. He also told me that they had to shock me.
The doctor told my wife that I was doing all right. He said, "Just to let you know, he wasn't 98% or 99% blocked. He was 100% blocked in that widowmaker." He also said that they set a time record of 24 minutes from the time I got there to being in recovery. That was pretty good.
How were you treated at Memorial?
They treated me so good. The doctors, nurses, the EMTs, in the cath lab, in my room, at the nurses' station, everybody just treated me great.
Do you have a family history of heart attacks?
I didn't really know my dad that much because I was about eight and a half when he died. He had a heart attack and I was told when I came home from school. I guess it must be hereditary because my oldest brother had to have a triple bypass, my oldest nephew also had a triple bypass, and I had to end up having a stent.
What would you like to say to those who saved your life?
First of all, I have to thank my wife—she didn't listen to me. She said, "I'm calling 9-1-1." Then, the EMT people and what they did. And the doctors, they were just great. They're just a wonderful bunch of people. You just have to thank them for what they did. They did a wonderful job. In 24 minutes to get you there, ready to go, and put this stent in. I did not feel anything, and I thank them all for what they did. They did a terrific job. They saved my life. And if I had waited, I may not be here now. Oh yeah, they saved my life. There's no doubt about it.