Salt Lake City man alive because son refused to drive him to hospital

Dec 14, 2021, 7:02 PM | Updated: Dec 15, 2021, 9:45 am

SALT LAKE CITY – A Salt Lake City man and his doctors said he survived a heart attack because his son would not take him to the hospital.

Bill Zierse recently enjoyed a reunion with the paramedics and doctor who helped save his life. It’s something they say he likely would not have survived under different circumstances.

“It was like an elephant was sitting on my chest and it got really intense,” Zierse said as he described the pain.

The chest pains were mild at first, but then they got much worse.

At first, Zierse wanted to drive himself to the hospital.

“I said, ‘Why don’t you take me?’ And he says, ‘No, I am going to call 911.’”

His son Kelly Zierse said he know it was the right decision to stay home with his father.

“I’m like, ‘First thing we need to do is have an ambulance there and have them assess it and they can start treating him and the hospital will be ready by the time he gets there,’” Zierse explained.

Zierse is also a detective with the West Jordan Police Department and has seen what can happen when people try to handle emergencies like this themselves.

“Six minutes later, they showed up, assessed it and took him,” he said.

That ambulance was much more than a ride to St. Mark’s Hospital.

Bill Zierse with the whole team that worked to save his life. (KSL TV)

“We’re so grateful, yeah. So grateful that they called,” said Tom McKay, a paramedic with the Salt Lake City Fire Department.

He said his team prepared Bill Zierse for the emergency room.

“So, they gave me a nitroglycerin pill, and they gave me three of them before I went to the hospital,” he said.

By the time he made it to the hospital, Zierse said a team was already waiting for him and ready to give him the treatment he would need.

He said more than a dozen people helped as he got three stents placed in left anterior descending artery through his left arm.

“Timing is of the essence,” said Dr. Vamsee Yaganti. “Any patient who is ever having chest pain and they think it’s a heart attack is to call 911.”

Yaganti is thankful that he can see his patient alive and well. He said many people do not survive a complete blockage of that artery.

“It is emotional. It’s very rewarding and, you know, makes me feel like I chose the right career path,” he said.

The outcome was most gratifying for Zierse and his wife, Patty Zierse.

“I just know angels were with us,” she said.

They are now celebrating Bill Zierse’s 70th birthday and are still able to spend time with his five children and 26 grandchildren.

All of it was thanks to a stubborn son and a team of professionals who were ready to do their jobs.

You just have to call.

“If you want to have a heart attack, make sure you call 911 because that can save your life,” Zierse said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Kevin Linford (Facebook)...
Andrew Adams

Additional sex charges filed against Utah businessman; prosecutors fear more victims possible

A man accused of sexually abusing multiple women at a party in Davis County last summer now faces new charges in Salt Lake County. 
1 day ago
(Jackson Grimm/KSL TV)...
Debbie Worthen

Avalanches are bigger, more dangerous than past seasons in Utah

Utah gets hundreds of avalanches every year, but this year, those numbers are higher, and the slides themselves are becoming bigger and more dangerous.
1 day ago
Logan Stefanich

Alpine School District exploring potential closure of 5 elementary schools

The doors of five elementary schools in Alpine School District may be closing for good at the end of the school year due to seismic concerns.
1 day ago
(FILE) Salt Lake City Police car responding to a scene....
Madison Swenson

Man arrested after stealing thousands of dollars in merchandise from SLC airport store

A 30-year-old man accused of stealing nearly $4,100 worth of merchandise from a store inside the Salt Lake City International Airport has been arrested.
1 day ago
(KSL TV)...
Madison Swenson

West Valley City home heavily damaged by fire

A West Valley City home suffered significant damage Tuesday after a fire broke out in the kitchen.
1 day ago
(Utah County Sheriff's Office K-9 Team/Facebook)...
Cary Schwanitz and Madison Swenson

Utah County Sheriff’s Office mourning loss of retired K-9

The Utah County Sheriff’s Office is honoring a retired K-9 who died Monday.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Stack of old laptops with dark background...
PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Close up of an offset printing machine during production...
Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.
vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
Salt Lake City man alive because son refused to drive him to hospital