Heart Disease Doesn't Keep a Calendar

February 12, 2014

Greg Stine, 52, shares the story of
how teamwork and skill saved his life.

Christmas Day is typically a time for rejoicing and heartfelt joy. But for Greg Stine, Pastor at Bethel Church near Fort Scott, it was a day with heartache, literally.

“I noticed a strange discomfort in my back that radiated to my chest,” Stine said. “It would be strong but then subside, so I didn’t think much of it. I had a few spells like that throughout the day.”

But heart disease doesn’t keep a calendar and on New Year’s Day, the pain returned.

“It was the same all over again, just more intense.”

What Stine had shrugged aside on the first day of 2014 was leading up to something much bigger.

On a frigid and snowy January 5th, the big one hit. Stine, 52, explained he had all the classic symptoms of a heart attack: sharp, almost dagger-like pain; tightness in the chest that didn’t stop; and shortness of breath.

His wife, Cheryl, drove him to the Emergency Department at Mercy Hospital Fort Scott. The 10-mile drive could be compared to a trail on the Iditarod.

Once at the hospital, it was obvious Stine was in trouble and he was rushed right in.

Dr. David Phelps and his team got to work. Immediately they took my vitals, gave me nitroglycerin and an EKG. After a thorough read of the EKG, they administered a clot-busting drug.”

According to Dr. Phelps, “TNKase® (Tenecteplase) - a tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) - is commonly known as a clot buster. The medication dissolves blood clots and works best if administered intravenously right after symptoms begin. Strict criteria must be met in order to use the medicine.”

“Within five minutes,” Stine said, “I felt a tremendous relief.”

Soon after, Stine was transported by Mercy Fort Scott EMS to Mercy Hospital Joplin where he met that evening with Cardiologist, Dr. James G. Hoff.

“Dr. Hoff credits the knowledgeable and quick-thinking team of the emergency staff at Mercy Fort Scott to saving my life.”

But Stine still needed serious intervention. He was diagnosed with 90 percent blockage in one artery and 70 percent in another. So on Sunday, Stine received two stints. He was back in the comfort of his home on Tuesday, Jan. 8th.

After a couple weeks with physician-advised lifting restrictions, Pastor Stine is back to his normal routine…with a few exceptions.

“It’s time I make dietary restrictions and get an exercise plan going.”

Take advice from the Pastor, “Avoid doing it my way. Care of yourself ahead of time. If you are having symptoms of a heart attack, don’t hesitate. Get it checked out.”

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