McCrabb: Fast medical response saves life of man ‘on the verge of death’

David Olivet sits on his porch in Middletown. Olivet who has had 7 heart attacks and 12 stints put in since 2011 said "Don't take life for granted, you could be here one day and gone the next", after his most recent heart attack this year. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Caption
David Olivet sits on his porch in Middletown. Olivet who has had 7 heart attacks and 12 stints put in since 2011 said "Don't take life for granted, you could be here one day and gone the next", after his most recent heart attack this year. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

David Olivet, who has had six heart attacks and 11 stents in the last 10 years, knew something was wrong when he felt chest pain.

So while driving to Walmart to buy a cage for his three kittens, Olivet pulled his silver Honda Odyssey mini van over and took a nitroglycerin dose, the best friend for someone with history of cardiac disease.

Five seconds later, he vomited the pill and started sweating profusely.

“I knew right then I was having a heart attack,” Olivet said last week while sitting in the living room of his home on Oxford State Road.

What happened the next 42 minutes — from the time Olivet called 911 to when Atrium Medical Center surgeons corrected his 100 percent blocked artery with a stent — was the difference between celebrating life or planning a funeral.

“They gave me more time to spend with my family,” said Olivet, 54, who is engaged and has two sons, 32 and 11 years old. “To me that’s worth everything. I can’t do or say anything to repay them. It’s like, well, I was on the verge of death and they were there to help me in a time of need.”

When Olivet pulled into a parking lot on Towne Boulevard at 7 a.m. on March 26, he called 911 and talked to Middletown Division of Police dispatcher Rhonda Deaton. Throughout the emotional eight-minute call, Olivet pleaded for assistance numerous times.

“Oh God. Help me.”

Since the 911 call came from a cell phone, Deaton asked Olivet his address and what type of vehicle he was driving. Olivet wanted police to call his fiancé, Karla Neal, to inform her what had happened.

“Oh God. Oh God.”

Deaton told Olivet that paramedics were on their way.

“Oh God. Oh God.”

“They are about there,” the dispatcher said. “I know it seems like a long time, but they’re coming.”

She told him to take deep breaths.

She heard sirens in the background.

“Do you see them?” she asked.

When Olivet said he saw the ambulance, she said: “You take care of yourself.”

That’s exactly what happened thanks to Middletown Division of Fire paramedics and the staff at Atrium. The paramedics ran an EKG and determined Olivet was potentially having a heart attack. They alerted the emergency room staff at Atrium and Dr. Mouhamad Abdallah, medical director of the hospital’s Chest Pain Center and the hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab, was notified.

“They did everything right,” Middletown fire Chief Paul Lolli said of his paramedics. “A great job of identifying the cardiac concerns and getting him to Atrium. Just a wonderful job.”

Once at Atrium, a two-minute drive from where Olivet was parked, doctors quickly determined he had a heart attack and he was rushed to the cardiac catheterization lab. At one point, Olivet said, his ears turned blue and nurses performed CPR.

Then a stent was inserted to correct the blockage that was caused by scar tissue from a previous stent, he said.

Abdallah said Olivet’s positive outcome was due to a total “team effort” between the fire department and Atrium.

“Every little detail counts,” he said about Atrium, an accredited Chest Pain Center. “It’s like you’re driving 200 miles per hour.”

Middletown’s fire department has received the American Heart Association Gold Standard Award for Cardiac Care. The gold standard is to get a cardiac patient treated 90 minutes after they arrive at the hospital.

Olivet was treated in 30 minutes.

He has returned to his job at Crown Services, a temporary employment agency in Monroe. He never made it back to Walmart to get that cage for the kittens. They’re living in a hamster cage that sits on a table in the living room.

He often thinks back to the events on March 26, from the 911 call to the ambulance ride to receiving his 12th stent.

Without all that assistance and medical care, Olivet said: “I would have died. It’s that simple.”