Samuel A. Kojoglanian, MD, FACC

June is a 43 year old who showed up at the emergency room with chest pains. She is the mother of two teenage sons, and the owner of a bakery shop. As a single mother, she does not get much sleep, caring for her kids and trying to keep up with the unending overhead of operating her own business. She was told to sit down and wait her turn because the front desk triage personnel dismissed her as simply “anxious.” June had never experienced such chest pressure in the past.

She got up from her chair in the ER waiting room and told the front desk personnel that her pain was worse and that she was starting to sweat. Once more June was directed to have a seat as there was a trauma case that took precedence.

On her way to the chair, June’s breathing became labored. She got to her seat, but by then her world of colors grew black and she could no longer see. Her 230-pound frame slammed to the floor and blood started pouring from her forehead where she sustained a deep laceration.

An EKG revealed that one of her heart arteries was shut down and she needed an emergent intervention. Given that there was no cardiac catheterization laboratory in the facility, June arrived at my hospital via helicopter within one hour.