Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Local News

December 2, 2010

New heart attack transfer protocol saves man’s life

Like many people, Joshua resident Steve Jernigan was on vacation last week, getting ready to leave town to spend Thanksgiving with family.

But while saddling his horse to take one last ride before leaving for Arkansas, something felt wrong.

“When I went to get her [his horse] to tie her up to the fence to go get the bridle is when it hit me,” said Jernigan, Johnson County Precinct 3 assistant precinct supervisor. “I made it to my tack room and sat down there for a minute and decided I needed to lie down. I finally made it to the house and laid down. Through the night, it kept hurting and hurting. I couldn’t take it any more, so Wednesday morning, I had [my wife] take me in to emergency.”

Jernigan heard about the new Texas Health Harris Methodist Outpatient Center Burleson Emergency Room facility, and because it was closest to his home, decided to go there.

“They hooked me up to an EKG. It showed I was having a heart attack,” he said. “They went ahead and started getting me ready for a CareFlite chopper to come get me right there and take me to Fort Worth. When we landed on the rooftop, we went straight into surgery.”

Because of a heart attack transfer protocol developed in the last two years by the American Heart Association and Texas Health Resources, Jernigan was evaluated in Burleson, flown to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth and had his artery opened up by doctors in the catheterization laboratory in 80 minutes.

“They explained everything to me. I was conscious the whole time,” he said. “I could even watch it on the screen if I wanted to when they were putting the stint in my heart because I had an artery that was 100 percent clogged up.”

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