Jim’s story

Photo of Dr. Suzanne Renner, St. Mary's cardiologist

Dr. Suzanne Renner, Interventional Cardioloy specialist

For Jim McKnight, being in the right place at the right time saved his life. Visiting Waterloo from his hometown of Saugeen Shores, Jim and his wife were caring for their daughter who was on bed-rest awaiting the arrival of twins when he felt a tightening in his chest, numbness in his arm and shortness of breath. His daughter, a nurse, recognized the warning signs of a heart attack and called 911. 

I know I was in the right place at the right time. My grandchildren, paramedics and first-class team at St. Mary’s saved my life.

Jim was taken to St. Mary’s, where a team of experts in the emergency department performed an electrocardiogram (ECG), and determined that he was a candidate for the hospital’s newly introduced Code STEMI. 

“The gold standard of care for a patient with an ECG showing an ST segment Elevated Myocardial Infarction (STEMI), commonly known as an acute heart attack, is to provide an emergency angioplasty within 90 minutes of diagnosis,” says Dr. Suzanne Renner, an interventional cardiologist at St. Mary’s Regional Cardiac Care Centre. “If we can reach that target, research shows that the patient will have the best chance of survival and the least impact on their quality of life.”

 Within the first year of practice, St. Mary’s has far surpassed the 90-minute best-practice target outlined by the American Heart Association, achieving an average “door to balloon” time (the time from arrival in the emergency department to the opening of the blocked artery in the cardiac catheterization lab) of only 77 minutes in 2006/07. 

As he completes cardiac rehabilitation at St. Mary’s, Jim McKnight knows that being in Waterloo that Wednesday afternoon was a decision that will impact him for the rest of his life. “I know I was in the right place at the right time. My grandchildren, paramedics and first-class team at St. Mary’s saved my life.”

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