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Emergency teamwork gives Pete back in the swim after heart attack

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Joe Poelker
314-525-4005

Release Date: 6/10/2013

Staff earns award for saving lives

Joe Warner and Clinical Save Award recipients

Four doctors and nurses earn regional Clinical Save Award

Joe Warner, 53, was doing the dishes in his Imperial home before dinner on January 31. He had suffered a heart attack the previous November and was recovering from double-bypass surgery. He had just returned to work as a salesman at a plastics company, and he was talking with his 19-year old stepson, Tyler Wheat.

Wheat remembers, “I wasn’t even supposed to be there. I was supposed to be out with friends, but they had cancelled our plans. I had just gotten home from the store and was walking up the stairs from the garage. I heard Joe in the kitchen. I asked him how his day was, and he joked that his job was going to kill him. Then he got a dazed look, and couldn’t speak.”

At that moment, Warner dropped to the floor, and only remembers darkness.

His stepson called 911, and started CPR, something Wheat had learned years ago. The dispatcher instructed Wheat until paramedics arrived. They took him to the Emergency Department at St. Anthony’s Medical Center, where Randy Speck, M.D. was waiting. “He (Warner) was lucky that people were nearby when this happened, and that paramedics could get him to St. Anthony’s quickly,” said Dr. Speck.

Dr. Speck, along with Tina Gearhart, R.N., worked to stabilize Warner and then moved him to the ICU. Wheat said, “The doctors and nurses would come out to us, told us what to do, and what was going to happen step by step so we understood.”

Warner has been told that he coded numerous times over the following 48 hours. He remembers none of it. Doctors say he is lucky not only to be alive, but to have survived with no major brain damage.

“I have some short term memory problems,” says Warner, who is back at work. “I’m thankful to be alive every day. I try to live a much happier and stress-free life. I want to see my grandchildren born.”

“I will never forget it,” says Wheat. “St. Anthony’s played a major role to save my stepdad’s life. It’s pretty miraculous, and pretty mind blowing to know he made it and is as well as he is. It’s pretty amazing.”

Because of their efforts, the East Central Regional Advisory Council awarded the Clinical Save Award to Tyler Wheat, Randall Speck, M.D., Dennis Disch, M.D., Tina Gearhart, R.N., and Kim DeMerit, R.N., as well as to members of Jefferson County 911, Rock Township Ambulance District, and Antonia Fire Department.

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