Joe Lynch (49) remembers a coworker who had a heart attack at the mines. He didn’t want that to happen to him. That’s why when he started feeling chest discomfort—as if someone was standing on his chest and he had to stop and catch his breath—he let his supervisors at the Wyoming Machinery Company know. They drove him from where he was working at the mines to the
Emergency Department (ED) at Campbell County Health, a decision that likely may have saved his life.
In the ED he met Dr. Nick Stamato, one of two cardiologists that works full time for the health system. Dr. Stamato told him that he would probably need at least one stent.
“One side of my heart was 90% blocked, and the other was 95% blocked. It was like a time bomb waiting to go off,” Lynch says.
He was happy to learn that he could be treated at CCMH. As a mechanic, Joe says he gets intrigued by “all things mechanical” so the new cath lab fascinated him, as well as getting to watch his heart cath on a big screen monitor. Both Dr. Stamato and his partner
Dr. Shah were present.
“I didn’t even know they had a cardiac cath lab at the hospital. I was glad I didn’t have to go by ambulance or flight for life to another hospital. My wife had back surgery in Rapid and they were awesome, but compared to the service I got at CCMH I would say it was equal. They were good,” Lynch adds.
In the end, Dr. Stamato and Dr. Shah had to put in three stents in arteries around Joe’s heart to keep them open. A stent is a small mesh metal tube that is expanded with a balloon during a procedure called an angioplasty. The stents stay in place and keep blood flowing to the heart.
“Dr. Stamato was great. He came in my room and sat down, opened his coat, kicked up his legs and acted like he wasn’t in a big hurry,” he says. He also appreciated how attentive the nurses were, especially how they also took care of his wife, Angie, who stayed with him a few nights in the hospital.
Joe is nearing the end of a long session of cardiac rehab at CCMH. He is finding the therapists to be friendly and knowledgeable.
Joe’s back to working 14.5-hour days repairing big haul trucks. Joe and his wife Angie have three children—Tanner, Chelsea and Caden, the youngest at 15. The family has lived in Gillette for the past 18 years.
“I think our hospital here in Gillette has really improved. The whole staff has changed how they express themselves to customers,” Lynch concludes.
About Our Cardiology Program
If you have heart issues or a family history of heart disease, we have good news. For the first time, cardiologyis now part of the services based fulltime in Gillette. Our highly skilled cardiologists are here at all times to care for patients and our new cardiac cath lab just made their jobs a lot easier.
“We have the newest, latest, most advanced cath lab equipment out there. There’s no better in terms of technology in our region,” says Dr. Nick Stamato, cardiologist at CCMH.
The cardiac catheterization lab is where doctors diagnose and treat heart conditions using sophisticated imaging technology instead of surgery. Both emergency and scheduled treatments can be done in the cath lab.
“The biggest impact is with patients who are having a heart attack because their risk of dying goes up every hour. That makes traveling not only inconvenient, but also risky. With the cath lab we can provide care quickly. National standards call for having an artery open in 90 minutes from when the patient arrives in the Emergency Department. We’ve met that goal on every patient so far,” says Dr. Stamato.
The majority of testing and treatment needed for cardiac patients can be done at CCMH, outside of open heart surgery.
“We’ve made a commitment to the community that we are here 24/7, 365 a year. We try to always make sure one of us is always in town to take emergency calls,” states Dr. Sairav Shah, cardiologist at CCMH.