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Poconos: Mountain Scenery and World-Class Heart Care

Lehigh Valley Hospital–Pocono teamwork and commitment to excellence helps Chester County man

Think “Poconos” and envision mountain scenery, resorts, golf courses and more.

Think “world-class heart care” in the same region and think Lehigh Valley Hospital–Pocono. Tony Cadwalader of Unionville, Chester County, Pa. can vouch for that.

Fateful day

On Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022, Cadwalader started the day playing in a mixed doubles tennis tournament in the private Tobyhanna Township community where he and his wife, Jennifer, have a second home. A 58-year-old hunting guide who works in south Texas over the fall and winter months, Cadwalader is physically active.

Finished with his match, he sat down in the shade on the bleachers to watch his wife playing tennis on a nearby court. Then his world went dark. He collapsed from a heart attack. His heart stopped beating.

Those at the tennis courts sprang into action nearly as fast as a Serena Williams serve. Someone ran to a nearby ballfield to get help from a young man with lifeguard training. The tennis pro retrieved an automated external defibrillator (AED) from the pro shop. After cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), the AED was used, lifting Cadwalader off the bench where he lay. His eyes opened. He coughed. His heart was beating again. “My wife says it was just like in the movies,” he says.

A non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor, Cadwalader was lucid and answering questions and chose to be taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Pocono for treatment after being told by responding emergency medical personnel about the quality heart care there as a full-service heart hospital.

“I don’t remember it happening and then all of a sudden I was awake and asking what was happening,” Cadwalader says. His wife rode in the ambulance with him. “She was solid as a rock,” he says.

A team approach

The team at LVH–Pocono knew Cadwalader was coming and what had happened to him and made sure their STEMI team was there to greet him. STEMI is an acronym for ST-elevation myocardial infarction, which in layman’s terms means a severe heart attack. STEMI team members are on call during overnight hours and on weekends.

“There was a real kind of esprit de corps among all of them. They’re really performing at the top of their game.”- Anthony Cadwalader

Anil Gupta, MD, chief of cardiology at LVH–Pocono, was already working at the hospital when they got word Cadwalader was on his way. After an EKG confirmed his heart attack, Cadwalader was quickly taken to the heart catheterization lab, where Gupta found one of Cadwalader’s coronary arteries was fully blocked. He was able to clear the blockage and install a stent to keep the artery open.

Did you know?

For chest pain and heart attack patients at LVH–Pocono, the median time from entering the hospital to receiving an electrocardiogram (EKG) in the 2022 fiscal year is six minutes, well below the 10-minute goal set by the American College of Cardiology.

Cadwalader says the caregivers at LVH–Pocono were “spectacular” and put him at ease. “They were so gracious, knowledgeable and friendly. It was really wonderful to be taken care of by them,” Cadwalader says.

Gupta says Cadwalader was fortunate to have had timely CPR and that an AED was available, adding the combination of those two things often can mean the difference between life and death for someone who suffers cardiac arrest. “I was just really fortunate to be around such wonderful people, brave people willing to step up in an emergency,” Cadwalader says.

LVH–Pocono catheterization lab nurse Sue Leonard says she stayed with Cadwalader and his family in the ICU after the procedure to open Cadwalader’s artery and place the stent. “I told him a guardian angel was with him that day and how the team approach here at LVH–Pocono resulted in such a great outcome,” Leonard says. “Stories like Tony’s aren’t rare here because we combine expertise with teamwork, dedication and compassionate care. It’s in our DNA.”

The teamwork was not lost on Cadwalader. “There was a real kind of esprit de corps among all of them,” he says. “They’re really performing at the top of their game.”

Cadwalader, who also works as a freelance writer, was in the intensive care unit for two days, then discharged. He continues his recuperation at home in Chester County, grateful for the intervention of Good Samaritans and the expert heart care at LVH–Pocono.

Cadwalader says as a cancer survivor he already didn’t take much for granted but noted his heart attack was another reminder to enjoy what every day brings. “I know what almost happened,” he says. “There are times when I reflect on it and it’s very emotional. The sun’s a little brighter, the birds are more chipper, and colors are a little more brilliant.”

Lehigh Valley Hospital–Pocono

Certified as a Primary Heart Attack Center

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