Your Health Today Magazine

Care in a Heartbeat

Pete Lombardo swimming

St. Anthony's Emergency Department Puts Pete Lombardo Back in the Swim


It was a heart attack, Pete Lombardo knew.

He was loading his truck in the driveway of his South County home last September, when he felt a tightness and pressure in his chest, with pain radiating down his arms and in his jaw. “I knew all the classic signs,” recalled Pete, 55, who works in construction sales. He took two aspirin and immediately called an ambulance.

Although the Lombardos’ home is close to St. Anthony’s Medical Center, Pete knew that, in the past, St. Anthony’s Emergency Department had been the target of complaints about slow wait time and other issues. For these reasons, he asked paramedics to take him to another hospital. However, due to the severity of his symptoms, he was taken to St. Anthony’s.

“You are changing [your reputation] one patient at a time,” said Pete’s wife, Marett Lombardo. “I have nothing but wonderful things to say about the treatment and care that my husband received. For future reference, we will go to St. Anthony’s again.”

The Emergency Department has recently undergone not just one, but many sweeping transformations, including a “door to doc” time that in recent months has averaged less than 30 minutes. “Door to doc” is the period from when a patient enters the Emergency Department to when he or she is evaluated by a doctor.

“We have a wonderful team in the Emergency Department, and we’ve made some significant advances, not just in construction and technology but in our patient care,” said Eric Appelgren, M.D., Vice President of Clinical Services. 

Less than 40 minutes after the ambulance was called, St. Anthony’s caregivers had taken images of Pete’s heart, and he was taken from the Emergency Department to the Cardiac Cath Lab, where cardiologist Christopher Allen, M.D., inserted a stent. 

“There was no waiting,” Marett recalled. “Everyone in the Emergency Department treated my husband as if he was their only patient. Dr. Allen is what every patient deserves, a doctor who is as caring as he is knowledgeable.” 

“Pete had no long-term heart muscle damage, and his prognosis is excellent,” Dr. Allen said.

Two days after he entered the hospital, Pete Lombardo returned home. The avid golfer and swimmer continues with cardiac rehab at St. Anthony’s three times a week.

“I can’t say enough about the Emergency Department, Dr. Allen and his team, from the doctors and nurses to the housekeepers,” Pete said.