Medical City Fort Worth March 08, 2017

Erika at Joel King at Medical City Fort Worth

Medical City Fort Worth medical staff physicians volunteering at the 2017 Cowtown Marathon helped save the life of 56-year-old Joel King, who suffered a heart attack while at work at the Will Rogers Memorial Center.

King, whose family business provides golf carts used for transportation around the grounds at Will Rogers, arrived at work about 6 a.m. to avoid the marathon’s traffic and crowds. But, he started to feel bad and recognized possible heart attack symptoms. He sought help from race medical volunteers, including Dr. Darrin D’Agostino and Dr. Jon Sivoravong, who diagnosed his heart attack.

“He told us he was having a weird pain in his chest that occasionally radiated to his right arm,” recalled Dr. D’Agostino, who serves as medical director for The Cowtown and is on the medical staff at Medical City Fort Worth and associate dean of the internal medicine department at UNT Health Science Center. “When asked about family history, he said his father had a heart attack at age 55.”

King’s decision to go for help and the quick action of the race medical team likely saved his life. He suffered from what is commonly called “the widow maker,” with 100 percent blockage of the most important artery in the front of the heart, the left anterior descending artery (LAD). Within about an hour, King was in the cath lab at Medical City Fort Worth, where interventional cardiologist Keith Vasenius placed two stents in his heart.

 “I think if Mr. King had not come in, been seen and treated as early as he was, a delay in getting to the hospital would have led to a very bad outcome,” Dr. D’Agostino said. “These are patients who die suddenly.”

Learn more about this story in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and on NBC DFW.