OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — By most accounts, Hector Sanchez was in ideal health. He was an avid runner, logging 25 miles a week, and he lifted weights several times a week. He had no idea how much trouble his heart was in, until one day during his regular workout when he collapsed.
Sanchez was having a heart attack, and he thanks the bystanders who administered CPR and used the gym’s emergency defibrillator, the medics who rushed to the scene, and the medical staff at Overland Park Regional Medical Care.
Sanchez met with some of the people who saved his life at a gathering at the Overland Park Regional Medical Center. Sanchez said although they had been with him throughout his ordeal, the event today was, for him, meeting many of them for the first time. He can not recollect anything from those crucial, life-saving moments.
Dr. George Pierson, the doctor who worked with Sanchez, said that cases like this are why he became a cardiologist. He said it’s his duty.
“Our mission is to deliver people like Hector back to their family,” Pierson said.
Sanchez was grateful for the meeting, which gave him an opportunity to thank the people that saved his life.
“I want to say thank you to everybody. I’m glad I’m here, and it’s because of you guys I am here,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez revealed to the group gathered that not only did they save his life, but his ordeal helped others. He said he spoke to others at the gym who witnessed his heart attack, and it prompted them to take action for their own heart health.
“A couple other folks saw this happening to me, so they all went to get heart tests,” Sanchez said. “And of the four, three passed and one is going to have double bypass surgery.”
Sanchez stressed the importance of heart screenings and regular medical care, because he was like so many who had no idea the state his heart was in.
“I thought I would never have a heart attack. I’ve run 31 marathons,” Sanchez said. “I said ‘this could never happen to me’ and then it did.”
Sanchez said he had gotten medical clearance to go back to work in 6 weeks.