Your Health Matters: Life saving care

At age 65, Gauthier-Wairnner had no idea he was having a heart attack.

It was almost a year ago that Jim Gauthier-Wairnner of Interlochen was having major health problems.

"I thought it was food poisoning because I've had that before," says Gauthier-Wairnner

It wasn't food poisoning thought, that Gauthier-Wairnner was experiencing. Instead it was something much more life threatening. After several days of severe agony including chest pain, he finally decided to go Munson Medical Center's emergency room.

"They took me in immediately soon as they heard it was chest pain. A swarm of people came into the room. It wasn't very long until they told me I was having a heart attack," says Gauthier-Wairnner

At age 65, Gauthier-Wairnner had no idea he was having a heart attack. Although heart disease runs in his family, he led a very active lifestyle. He skied for several hours a day and ate relatively healthy. Besides the shock of having a heart attack, he also learned that several of his arteries were were blocked and he needed bypass surgery.

"I was admitted on the 28th of February and on the 29th had a quintuple bypass," says Gauthier-Wairnner

It would be a long road to recovery for Gauthier-Wairnner. Plus, heart patients are considered high priority, so his surgeon ordered home-health care to help him gain back his strength.

Carrie Coger, a registered nurse and case manager for Munson Homecare was assigned to Gauthier-Wairnner on the first day he came home from the hospital. That's when she immediately noticed something was not right.

"I came the first day and then came back next day and he was having difficulties that seemed unusual so I did some instruction with him," says Coger.

There were definite red flags that Coger was picking up on with Gauthier-Wairnner. They were signs that he needed to get back to the hospital.

"Shortness of breath, clearing his throat, coughing more fatigued than the average person. I came back next day and he should have been improved and he wasn't and that's when I called the surgeon's office," says Coger.

"It turned out to be two blood clots in my pulmonary artery, which goes to my lungs and that's what she was hearing. So, they admitted me," says Gauthier-Wairnner.

It was Coger's quick thinking and noticing certain signs that may have saved Gauthier-Wairnner's life...even though she might not feel that way.

"I think that I was part of the process that helped Jim be where he is today. I sent him to the ER and everybody did their job," says Coger.

"She's very good at what she does and because she was able to pick up on something, that could have been disastrous. In retrospect all I can say is I was very impressed and happy that I had those services available to me," says Gauthier-Wairnner.

"I think god puts you in the right place at the right time. You use your clinical judgment and you go from there," says Coger.

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