Return to Heart Health Updates
February 14, 2011
Doug Oggeri is a very lucky man. The 55-year-old Merrick resident survived a heart attack last week, thanks to modern technology---and the quick thinking of his 18-year-old daughter, Colleen.
Joined by his doctors and family at a news conference held Friday at Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Medical Center, Mr. Oggeri described the lost four days following his heart attack, the angioplasty and stenting procedures that saved his life, and his hopes for the future.
Mr. Oggeri said the day started like any other. After shoveling snow on February 3, Mr. Oggeri went inside his Merrick, Long Island home to check on his computer printer. His wife, Linda, heard a loud noise, and when she and her 18-year-old daughter Colleen investigated, they found Mr. Oggeri on the floor; he wasn’t breathing and there was no pulse. Luckily, Colleen had been trained in cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) by the Merrick Police Athletic League, so she was able to come to her father’s aid. Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) arrived about 10 minutes later and shocked his heart twice. Mr. Oggeri was then transferred to Nassau University Medical Center (NUMC) , where staff began hypothermia therapy, which lowers body temperature and reduces oxygen demand for the heart and other organs.
When stabilized, Mr. Oggeri was transferred to LIJ Medical Center, where Rajiv Jauhar, MD, the hospital’s director of interventional cardiology, opened the blockages in Mr. Oggeri’s coronary arteries with balloon angioplasty and the placement of stainless steel stents. Due to the cardiac arrest he suffered and the possibility of cardiac arrhythmias occurring, Mr. Oggeri was discharged Friday on a Life Vest . This non-invasive, wearable defibrillator vest monitors the patient’s electrocardiogram (EKG) recordings, detects life-threatening rhythms and provides a shock to the heart in less than a minute.
Another piece of luck for Mr. Oggeri that day was that he was brought to a hospital that is tops in angioplasty survival rates and offers state-of-the-art interventional cardiac treatment. “We are very proud of our success rates in this area. A New York State Department of Health report issued in late January showed that LIJ Medical Center was one of only two hospitals in New York State that had angioplasty survival rates www.northshorelij.com/NSLIJ/nys-report-ranks-nsuh-lij that were significantly better than the statewide average,” said Dr. Jauhar, noting that it was a team approach -- the hypothermia therapy offered by NUMC, his daughter’s quick response, the skills of the EMTs, and the treatment protocol at LIJ -- that allowed everyone to celebrate a very happy outcome.
When asked how it felt to have saved her father’s life, Colleen, who plans to pursue a career in nursing, said, “I just knew I had to do something. I wasn’t ready to think about not having my father with me at my prom or at my graduation. I’m so happy that I learned CPR. It’s a skill that every young person should learn.”
That was a sentiment echoed by all the doctors on her father’s treatment team, as well as her father. Clearly overcome with emotion while hugging his daughter, whom he refers to as “his angel,” Mr. Oggeri concluded, “I feel like I’ve been given another chance. I hope people will learn the lessons I’ve learned -- take care of your heart, don’t overdo it and learn CPR.”
When prompted by reporters, the family admitted to one other decision they made: to buy a snow blower.
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