Don’t wait: heart attack rapid response saves life of Utah dad

Nov 30, 2023, 7:37 PM

MURRAY — Morgan Daines is an avid cyclist.

“I had a weird sensation in my hand,” he said. “My dad had had a heart attack at the same age that I was.”

Daines was biking in the Uintah Mountains when he noticed something was wrong.

Morgan Daines has participated in the annual Logan to Jackson Hole cycling race 11 times, six of which have been since his heart attack. (KSL TV)

“I got in the car, threw my bike in the back and drove to the emergency room in Park City and walked right into the lobby and told the nurse that I thought I was having a heart attack,” he said.

Daines, a father of three, was life flighted to Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, where he was treated by Dr. Trey O’Neal and his team.

“Fortunately, we were able to meet him in the lab and get his artery open as soon as we could,” Dr. O’Neal said. “He actually arrested on the table, but we were able to save him.”

Daines recovered and is back on his bike, all thanks to the strategic planning and quick thinking of the Intermountain team.

Morgan Daines at the annual Logan to Jackson Hole cycling race. (KSL TV)

“The time a patient presents in the emergency room to the time we get their artery open should be less than 90 minutes,” Dr. O’Neal said. “Time is myocardium. Myocardium is heart muscle. The faster we can open up the artery, the more muscle we can save.”

To save a heart attack patient, every second is critical. That’s why Intermountain caregivers are constantly refining their rapid response protocol, as well as coordinating closely with first responders.

“If we think that somebody’s going to be having a cardiac event, we’re going to get them to hospital as quickly as we can,” said Unified Fire Authority PIO Benjamin Porter.

Their multi-disciplinary approach has been recently recognized on a national scale. According to data released from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Intermountain Medical Center in Murray has the nation’s highest survival rate for heart attack patients, tied only by the Mayo Clinic and NYU.

Morgan Daines in the hospital following his heart attack. (KSL TV)

“We’re not perfect yet. And we still have a long way to go. We’d like to see 100% survival from heart attacks,” said Dr. Kent Meredith with Intermountain Health.

With that goal in mind, these caregivers and first responders are working tirelessly to give back.

“There’s no greater gift than saving the life of another human being,” Dr. O’Neal said.

For people like Daines, their diligence paid off.

“I’m still here today because of that,” Daines said.

Daines has not had issues with his heart since. He credits proper nutrition, exercise, and follow-up care for his good health.

If you suspect you’re having a heart attack, get help immediately.

Common warning signs include chest pain, discomfort in your arm, neck, jaw, or back, shortness of breath, nausea, and lightheadedness.

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Don’t wait: heart attack rapid response saves life of Utah dad