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Tim Ellis

Tim Ellis

A Close Call

They’d been married for 50 years when Tim Ellis of Canal Fulton suffered his second heart attack. His wife, Janice Leora Ellis, didn’t want to believe it could be happening again when her 69-year-old husband came in the door sweating and experiencing crushing chest pain.

Tim, who has a family history of heart disease, laid down on the bed while his wife dialed 911, praying for her husband. As it would turn out, Tim had just driven himself home from Barberton only to be immediately rushed back by paramedics.

On the way, the EMS squad maintained contact with Summa Barberton Hospital, transmitting the results of Tim’s EKG and other vital information. Tim was experiencing a type of heart attack known as an ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). It’s among the most serious emergencies a person can have. Tim had been having intermittent chest pain for three weeks prior to this emergency, but had just shrugged it off.

“It didn’t hit me until I got to the hospital and heard them say, ‘this is a close call,’” Tim said. “I remember wondering if I was going to live or die.”

But on that day in April, Tim did live. His heart attack was stopped just 31 minutes after arriving at the hospital.

On call that day was Michael Hughes, M.D., medical director of Cardiovascular Services at Summa Barberton Hospital and Summa Health Center at Wadsworth-Rittman and a member of Summa Physicians Inc. – Interventional Cardiology. Dr. Hughes helped coordinate a team of lifesavers and also placed four stents in Tim’s heart. The first stent was preceded by a tiny balloon that inflated the blocked portion of Tim’s coronary artery, allowing blood to flow back into the portion of the heart muscle desperate for circulation.

“Tim is a fortunate man who had a complicated case,” said Dr. Hughes. “The quick activation of EMS by his wife, along with the coordinated effort of the entire care delivery team, resulted in Tim’s excellent outcome. Due to his short time to treatment, Tim’s heart muscle is essentially normal with almost no damage.”

Tim spent three days in the hospital before going home, and he continues follow-up care with Dr. Hughes. 

For men and women interested in cardiovascular screenings in their community, Summa Health System is partnering with HealthFair to charter a mobile screening bus that will be visiting multiple northeast Ohio communities. Visit us online to view a schedule of where the mobile screening bus will stop and to make an appointment.