Emergency angioplasty at Virtua saved Jim’s life - leaving one family forever grateful
It was a Sunday morning in August when Jim Ewen awoke with excruciating chest pain that made
him hunch over as he tried to stand. His wife and daughter were away in Cape Cod, and he was
alone. It took all his effort to drag himself outside to walk Krystal, a dog everyone in his Medford
neighborhood knew and adored. He then drove himself to Virtua Marlton Hospital - where he
stepped out of his car and collapsed onto the pavement.
A nurse saw Ewen hit the ground; she ran for help. In just minutes, the emergency team rushed him from
the emergency department into the advanced catheterization
lab for an emergency angioplasty. Ewen remembers hearing
people yelling, "Code blue. His vitals are failing." And, from
somewhere, there was a phone call from his daughter pleading,
"Don't die, Daddy."
Virtua Marlton's cardiology team found a 100 percent
blockage in Ewen's coronary artery. An interventional
cardiologist inserted a narrow catheter into the artery to
relieve the blockage. He then inserted a stent - a tiny, hollow
mesh cage - to make sure that the artery stayed open.
"As soon as the angioplasty was done, the pain in my chest
disappeared," says Ewen. "I could breathe freely." And while he
was still in the cath lab, one of the nurses who helped save his
life said something he will never forget: "Welcome back. Aren't
you Krystal's owner?" The nurse is a neighbor who had often
seen Ewen and his dog Krystal out on walks.
The power of Ewen's story is that he was not a heart attack
waiting to happen. Young and seemingly healthy at age 52,
Ewen was a high-powered sales manager and a former Marine
who exercised seven days a week and did not smoke. The day
before his heart attack, he ran more than three miles. But he
couldn't outrun what was happening inside his body - the
relentless, silent build-up of plaque and inflammation within
the walls of his coronary artery.
Ewen now sees Virtua cardiologist Reginald Blaber, MD,
every two months for a checkup and a clean bill of health -
which makes his wife Joette and daughter Samantha thankful.
Ewen sums it all up: "Virtua gave me back my life and, for that,
I am forever grateful."
How Jim stays healthy
Immediately after his heart attack, Ewen went for cardiac
at the William G. Rohrer Center for
. He lost 38 pounds and takes all of the
medication his doctors prescribe, every day. "We're both
benefiting from Jim's new information about diet, exercise
and heart health," says Ewen's wife Joette.
For an appointment with a Virtua cardiologist, call 1-888-Virtua-3 (1-888-847-8823).
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