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Rev. Mike Ramsdell – Heart Attack Success Story

Preach it!

Rev. Mike Ramsdell – Heart Attack Success Story
The Rev. Mike Ramsdell is spreading the word about heart attack symptoms

As one of the original members of Methodist Mansfield Medical Center’s advisory board, the Rev. Mike Ramsdell, MDiv, was there when the hospital’s cardiology program started.

“It was kind of unique to be a part of that whole process and then need the care myself,” says Ramsdell, who serves as senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Mansfield.

On July 11, 2012, Ramsdell, 59, began experiencing tightness in his neck and right shoulder and what he calls “body anxiety.”

“It felt like when you drink too much caffeine, only I hadn’t,” he says. The discomfort, though minor, compelled Ramsdell to stop by the emergency department (ED) on his way to church that morning.

“I figured they’d check my heart, say ‘You’re fine,’ and I’d go on about my day,” he says. Instead, Ramsdell learned he was having a heart attack.

Emergency heart help

The Methodist Mansfield ED team called in Tulio Diaz, MD, RPVI, independently practicing interventional cardiologist and endovascular medicine specialist on the hospital’s medical staff. While an EKG of Ramsdell’s heart showed no sign of a blockage, Dr. Diaz was convinced that the pastor’s earlier symptoms were too classic to ignore.

While treating Ramsdell in the hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab, Dr. Diaz discovered that his instincts were correct: One of Ramsdell’s arteries was 100 percent blocked.

Dr. Diaz performed a procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) to widen the artery, place a stent, and restore blood and oxygen flow to the heart.

“The hospital was great,” Ramsdell says. “If they hadn’t gotten me into the cath lab right away, I would have had heart damage, resulting in death or my being incapacitated. Instead, I ran a half-marathon.”

Rev. Mike Ramsdell – Heart Attack Success Story
Practicing what he preaches: Rev. Mike Ramsdell recruited members of his congregation to join him in running the Miles for Meredith race last fall.

Don’t ignore heart attack symptoms

Ramsdell was not your typical heart attack patient – he had normal cholesterol, he didn't smoke, he was an avid runner, and he was not overly stressed. The only credible explanation for his condition is family history, something Dr. Diaz stresses patients should pay attention to and share with their doctors.

Ramsdell is also speaking out about heart health, even taking the cause to the pulpit.

“I can’t tell you how many men have gone to the doctor and gotten stents or bypass surgery because I preached on it,” he says. “If there’s anybody out there who has even the slightest thought of ‘This might be my heart,’ go get it checked out. That I sought help when I did is the reason I’m living the life I want today.”

From the spring 2013 edition of Shine magazine.