Published on February 14, 2018

Local EMS to be Recognized on Valentine's Day for Life Saving Heart Care

In honor of American Heart Month, Reading Hospital will recognize Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and their life-saving work at an educational dinner on Wednesday, February 14, at Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences, 1020 Old Wyomissing Blvd, Reading, PA 19611. During the event, which will take place at 6 p.m., a local couple will present a certificate and gift to Sean Haag, Andrew Lafaver, Josh High and Samantha Shuman, EMS responders who saved the man's life when he was having a heart attack.

The couple's story is compelling in many ways. Rick Cox's life was saved because his wife called 9-1-1. Rick was experiencing chest pain at home, and he wanted his wife to drive him to the hospital. She refused, and called 9-1-1. Time is the most important element in a heart-related emergency, and calling 9-1-1 ensures that the person having a heart attack receives immediate medical attention.

En route to the hospital, Sean Haag - with Western Berks Ambulance Association - delivered electric shocks (defibrillation) that helped return Rick's heart to its normal rhythm. EMS was also in direct contact with Reading Hospital from the ambulance, so the staff was aware of his situation and prepared to treat him immediately. In the cath lab, Rick received a stent that opened a blocked blood vessel. Two days later, he went home from the hospital and is in fine health today.

During American Heart Month, an important public message is that family or friends should never drive someone who is experiencing chest pain to the hospital. It is critical to call 9-1-1 instead. Reading Hospital created this video to depict the importance of calling 9-1-1. The video was created prior to Rick's health scare, and was created because the scenario of people driving loved ones to the hospital - rather than calling 9-1-1 - happens so frequently.