Vail Daily letter: Thanks for care
Dear Vail Valley readers,
We are writing this letter with two purposes — to publicly thank the incredible medical providers who truly saved Joel’s life and to alert and educate our friends and neighbors about these rare warning signs of a heart attack.
On Presidents Day, Feb. 16, Joel Kaye — 69 years old, retired dentist — was skiing in Blue Sky with a good friend and his two high school nephews from Vermont who were on their ski teams.
There was about 7 inches of good powder in the morning and Joel was leading them all through Blue Sky. Joel starting feeling like his esophagus tube was really cold, which was his only symptom for about one hour. Then he didn’t feel well with difficulty breathing, weakness in his legs and nausea with dry heaving as he skied from Blue Sky to the bottom of Vail. He thought he had the stomach flu and that he could ski down the mountain.
At the base of Vail, he started to feel really weak and our friend asked if Joel wanted him to carry his skis, which was a clear sign that Joel was in trouble. They went into the Vail Gondola Club and Joel thought if he had some hot chocolate the coldness in his esophagus tube would go away. He then started feeling chest pains, sweating and could not catch his breath. He knew he had to get to the hospital immediately!
The Eagle County paramedics, Dave Diflumeri, Steve Zuckerman, Andrew Wentland and Samantha Aaronson, arrived quite quickly immediately gave Joel powdered aspirin (which we now think that all of us seniors should all carry with us while skiing!). They inserted two IVs and started giving Joel fluids/drugs which probably saved his life! Once Joel got to the Vail Valley Medical Center and Dr. Jerry Greenberg quickly assessed the situation, it was clear that Joel was in the midst of having a very serious heart attack.
We can’t thank Dr. Greenberg enough for his fast, competent and great medical care of Joel while he was at the Vail Valley Medical Center emergency room! We recommend that all of us seniors go get a cardiac evaluation sooner than later to assess your risk of a cardiac event.
Unfortunately, the Vail Valley Medical Center cath lab was not open yet. The weather was too bad for a helicopter to fly Joel to Denver. The Eagle County Paramedics returned to take Joel by ambulance to Valley View Hospital’s cath lab and continued in the ambulance to treat Joel’s ongoing heart attack.
Dr. Marcus Howell and his great staff were waiting for Joel when he arrived at the emergency room. Joel was immediately taken into the cath lab, where Dr. Howell found that his “widowmaker” artery was 100 percent blocked and there were some blood clots. Dr. Howell inserted two stents in the “widowmaker” artery and Joel immediately started feeling incredibly better!
Joel spent three nights at the Valley View Hospital in the Critical Care Unit and had two fabulous nurses, Leslie and Natalie, who were so competent and capable.
Joel had a really great experience at the Valley View Hospital and felt like it was actually better than going to Denver!
We are publicly sharing Joel’s experience and hope that it helps even one person out there reading this letter to get a cardiac evaluation to hopefully prevent the life-threatening emergency situation that Joel experienced.
Thanks again to all of Joel’s fantastic medical providers!
We are beyond grateful for their excellent and fantastic medical care!
Joel Kaye and his wife, Lainie Edinburg
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