LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – First responders are the ones helping save others but for one central Arkansas firefighter, he found himself as the one who needed to be saved.
It was a typical day for firefighter Alan Tetkoskie. He was working a car accident in North Little Rock when he started to feel a little off.
“Severe dizziness and nausea really bad and weakness along with it,” Tetkoskie said.
He decided to take a seat on one of the trucks.
“I was thinking if I just wait until I get to where I feel better, I’ll be able to keep doing what I was doing,” Tetkoskie said.
About that time a paramedic walked by.
“And asked me if I was okay and I actually said ‘no, no I don’t think I’m okay,” Tetkoskie said.
Looking back now, he is glad that was his answer.
“The next thing I know they’re pulling clothes off of me and they stuck an IV on me and told me I was having a heart attack,” Tetkoskie said.
He was rushed to Baptist Health in North Little Rock.
“The ER was waiting for me,” Tetkoskie said. “That was the quickest trip through the ER I’ve ever had in my life.”
Within five minutes, he was sent to the Cath lab. Immediately Dr. Yadav got to work.
“This artery is his lifeline and it’s completely blocked,” Baptist Health Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Kapil Yadav said “I’m cleaning this out with balloons and stints. This is a stint and this is after we opened it up.”
Dr. Yadav says Tetkoskie survived a major heart attack, but the symptoms of nausea and dizziness were not what you typically expect.
“The manifestations of heart attacks vary from people to people,” Dr. Yadav said. “Just like we all look different, we have different pain thresholds.”
As Tetkoskie goes back for his regular checkups, he said this story could’ve had a much different outcome if it weren’t for two things. That’s listening to his body and being surrounded by his peers who know how to save a life.
“I was standing in the middle of two ambulances, a medical helicopter and more paramedics than I can count and frankly I think that’s probably one of the biggest factors that I may just well say saved my life,” Tetkoskie said.