Quad Cities Couple Thankful for Emergency Care at Illini Campus
Heart Attack Victim Arrived Near Death, Was Revived
Editor's note: The following story, written by Columnist John Marx, appeared in the Nov. 24 issue of the Rock Island Argus/Moline Dispatch newspapers. It is reprinted here with the newspapers' permission.
Tracy Taylor had already called her mother with the news. Pat, her husband, was gone.
Pat's brother, Larry, was next. She had to call Larry.
A Genesis-Illini campus emergency nurse stopped her in mid-dial.
"He's back,'' the nurse told Tracy.
"They hit him (shocked his heart) 10 times,'' Tracy said. "He was gone when he got here and then he was back. Amazing.''
That was Nov. 8, 2007. A year later, life is good for 51-year-old Pat Taylor, who says his clearest recollection of his near-death experience were the burn-marks on his chest for six months (because of the defibrillator paddles).
"I do recall being told my cath lab procedure (called "door to balloon'') was done in less than 60 minutes.'' Pat said. "I'm happy and thankful that no one gave up and kept working on me. I know when someone arrives "Code Blue' with a first-time heart attack, the outcome isn't good. I'm fortunate.''
Fortunate's an understatement.
A second-shifter, Pat fell ill at work, vomiting, going pale in the face, weak about his body and sweating through his clothes. A friend helped him to his car and told him to go home.
"My father died at 47 of a massive heart attack,'' he said. "I should have known the warning signs.''
Amazingly, Pat stopped by a local Hungry Hobo and picked up sub sandwiches for his family before heading home.
"Can you believe that?'' Tracy said. "Having a heart attack and he stops for sandwiches for the family.''
Once home, Tracy realized her husband was in peril and refused to let him rest on the couch and got him to the family car for a trip to Illini. Life then took a tragic turn. Her husband of 16 years stiffened, his right arm locking rigidly to its side. He began shaking.
"It was like Jesus on the cross,'' Tracy said.
Then Pat's breathing went faint and his eyes rolled back; Tracy said the life was going out of him.
"He was gone in the car,'' she said.
The pair arrived at Illini moments later and were greeted by nurses and Dr. Cecil (Wayne) Gallops, who worked to resuscitate Pat.
"Moments later I was told I could go ahead and make my calls (to relatives) to tell them Pat was gone,'' Tracy said. "I talked to my mother for two, maybe three minutes. Obviously, I was shaken. I started to call his brother.''
Then, the news.
"I love the people here and Dr. Gallops,'' Tracy said. "Here's my public thank you. But you can imagine the range of emotions -- from watching your husband die -- to the news they had saved him and had him in the cath lab getting the stents. Talk about some amazing people who refused to give up.''
"I'm back to work, feeling good, but I don't remember much about anything that happened,'' he said. "I'm grateful. I'm here because a lot of people refused to give up."