A supportive hospital staff provides one family with happy vacation memories – despite a heart attack.

A second chance at life after a heart attack

Image Steve Gaines Hr Shh Cardiac Heart Attack Image Steve Gaines Hr Shh Cardiac Heart Attack Image Steve Gaines Hr Shh Cardiac Heart Attack

Vacations are a time for families and friends to connect. However, emergencies can disrupt plans, leaving families in unfamiliar locations not knowing what to do.

 That is what happened to Sherry Gaines while vacationing in the Outer Banks from Grove City, Ohio.

“We had gotten up on Monday and were going to take our grandchildren to the aquarium, when my husband, Steve, suddenly said he didn’t feel well.  I offered to stay with him, but he told me to go with the kids, and he would go upstairs and lie down. Two of our daughters didn’t go, and went in and checked on Steve while we were gone” Sherry said. “When we got back a couple hours later, I took one look at Steve and said I am taking you to an emergency room.  He was a dusky gray color, and said he was very cold, and had bad heartburn.”

When the couple arrived at Outer Banks Emergency Room, Steve was almost immediately transported to Sentara Heart Hospital

Frightful moments 

When the family arrived at the hospital, Steve had already been taken into the cath lab. 

“Dr. Old soon told me I saved my husband’s life; had we waited another hour or two we would have lost him,” Sherry remembered. “He explained that Steve had a massive heart attack of the main artery; this type of heart attack is often referred to as the “Widow Maker.” 

Dr. Old put in two stents and a balloon pump. Steve had some clotting issues in the past, and they had to put the pump in to help the blood flow. 

Praising the staff 

Sherry couldn’t believe the above-and-beyond help she and her family received at the hospital.

One of her daughters began looking for a hotel. After she had made a few calls and found everything booked, the receptionist in the waiting area told the family about rooms that Sentara offers for $25 a night, solving their problem at a low price.

Sherry works at a hospital, so it certainly wasn’t her ideal location to spend a vacation, but she found the staff so kind and understanding.

“It wasn’t the vacation we had planned, but it will be the one that gave us a second chance at life,” she said. “We count each day now as a blessing and thank all of you at Sentara Heart Hospital for being there for us when we needed you. Thank you all for saving my husband’s life!”

Sherry and Steve went back to the vacation house and spent the last day with the rest of their family. Everyone got up on Saturday and left for their different destinations of home. 

“My husband and I stopped at a grocery store,” Sherry shared. “As we were walking into the store, Steve looked at me and said ‘Sorry I messed up our vacation.’ I looked at him and said ‘I’m just glad you are here with me now; I could be doing this by myself!’”


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