First Aid classes | Heart attack at fire station leaves crew working to save one of their own



Tony Spagnoletti with the men he calls his “lifesavers.” From left: Winston-Salem Fire Department Captain Scottie Emerson, paramedic David Folley, Spagnoletti, firefighter Michael Casstevens and paramedic Joffre Schrandt. (Photo courtesy of Tony Spagnoletti)


Firefighter Tony Spagnoletti was on overnight duty when he woke up with chest pains. He sloughed it off as “gas.”

“We’d been doing a rope rescue training earlier and I’d spent the day climbing up and down ladders,” Spagnoletti recalled of the night in 2012. “I was whipped but I didn’t notice anything unusual.”

But when the pain persisted, the trained emergency medical technician began to get concerned.


“[After chewing four baby aspirin,] I decided to get some oxygen from one of the trucks, but then I dropped the tank,” he said. “When I bent over to pick it up, the pain became the worst I’d ever experienced. Scale of 1 to 10, this was a 10.”

That’s when he called for help over the intercom.


Scottie Emerson, his captain at the time, said that when he came down the stairs, Spagnoletti was “as white as the firehouse walls.”

Acting quickly, Emerson called 911, took Spagnoletti’s blood pressure and started treatment with nitroglycerin.


EMS arrived within minutes and transported him to a hospital, which was less than a mile away. Although Spagnoletti works for the fire department in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, he lives with his family in a small town about 40 miles away.


“If Tony had this heart attack at home, we’d have had to bury him,” Emerson said.

After arriving at the hospital, Spagnoletti went into cardiac arrest.

“I got tunnel vision and realized my pain was gone and I felt at perfect peace,” he remembers.


The next thing he knew, however, he was looking up at a nurse.

“I must have been dreaming,” he said to her.

“No,” she responded, “we just defibrillated you.”


Spagnoletti, who was 47 at the time, would learn that he’d suffered a particularly lethal type of heart attack called the “widowmaker,” caused by a blockage of the left main coronary artery that supplies most of the blood to the heart.

Doctors cleared the blockage and inserted a stent to prop open the artery.

“Everyone who touched me helped save my life,” he said.


Spagnoletti spent only two days in the hospital, in part because he’d been in such good physical shape prior to the heart attack. During cardiac rehabilitation, he was encouraged to continue exercising and to start eating more plant-based foods and fish, and less of his beloved red meat.


He was put on several drugs for his heart, blood pressure and cholesterol. He was also diagnosed with sleep apnea, a risk factor for heart attack. He now sleeps with a CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, machine that keeps his airway open while he sleeps.


Seven weeks after his heart attack, Spagnoletti was back on the job.

Last September, he ran the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers 5K from the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the site of the Twin Towers in New York – while wearing his full firefighter gear.


Learn more about First Aid classes in Bergenfield, NJ, Jersey City, NJ, Livingston, NJ, Queens, NY​.


Source: newsarchive.heart.org


Our Client Reviews

  • Facebook Clean Grey

HealthForce Training Center provides high quality training and the latest American Heart Association programs customized for health and non-health care providers. Our mission is to provide a fun and stress free learning experience that can equip individuals with the knowledge and skills to be confident with their medical care and emergency situations.

AHA Disclaimer: The American Heart Association strongly promotes knowledge and proficiency in BLS, ACLS, and PALS and has developed instructional materials for this purpose. Use of these materials in an educational course does not represent course sponsorship by the American Heart Association. Any fees charged for such a course, except for a portion of fees needed for AHA materials, do not represent income to the Association.

© 2020  Synergy Healthcare International |Healthforce Training Center
 

  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • Twitter - Black Circle
  • Google+ - Black Circle
  • YouTube - Black Circle
  • Pinterest - Black Circle
  • Instagram - Black Circle
United States Flag icon
email icon
phone icon
1-866-CPR-9593
1-866-277-9593