Medical City Fort Worth February 05, 2018

A year ago, Joel King suffered a near-fatal heart attack at The Cowtown Marathon. But he kicked off February as Heart Month by raising awareness of heart attack symptoms and recognizing the Medical City Fort Worth staff who helped save his life.

King and his extended family members visited with Medical City Fort Worth and Med Star EMS professionals who cared for him, including Medical City Fort Worth Chair of Emergency Medicine Alana Snyder, DO. She recalled that King’s heart actually stopped on the table in the ER, and the ER staff was able to quickly revive him.

“He was very lucky,” Dr. Snyder said. “If he hadn’t been in the emergency department, if he hadn’t been around professionals that could put on an AED, he would have died and not come back.”

“What they all did for me was just professional and kind, and I totally relied on everybody else,” King said, recalling his experience. He was working at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth during The Cowtown in February 2017 when he started feeling discomfort in his chest.

“I thought, maybe I’m getting sick,” King said. “But, it was a different feeling, not a pain, but a discomfort and a tightness. My cardiologist says I wouldn’t have made it if I had not sought help.”

He found help from race medical volunteers and MedStar EMS, including physicians on the Medical City Fort Worth medical staff, who sent him to the hospital for treatment. They found that King was suffering from what is commonly called the “widowmaker,” with 100 percent blockage of the left anterior descending artery.

A year after two stents were placed in his heart, King is planning to celebrate by walking with his family in The Cowtown 5K. He says he works every day to have a heart healthy lifestyle and encourages other people to get checked by their physician if they have any symptoms of heart problems or have a family history of heart disease.

Dr. Snyder had this Heart Month advice for anyone wanting to improve their heart health: “Don’t smoke, exercise, keep your cholesterol and blood pressure under control, watch what you eat and make sure to have an annual check-up with your physician.”