Green Bay (WFRV) February is heart awareness month. In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds. Every 60 seconds, someone in the United States dies from a heart disease-related event.
Chelly boutott tells us how doctors were able to save one local woman’s life after being on the brink of death.
A little over a year ago Katie Gazlay was given only a 5-percent chance to live after suffering a heart attack, “nobody expected me to make it,” said Katie Gazlay, heart attack survivor.
It all started on Christmas eve 2015, Katie wasn’t feeling well, “All I knew was that I was sick, I had the flu,” explained Katie.
She went to the hospital on Christmas day, “She had a massive front wall heart attack going on and her blood sugars were totally out of control and when that happened she built up acid in her blood stream,” said Dr. David Mathias, MD, Cardiologist, Aurora BayCare Medical Center, “Her risk of dying at that time was probably 99.9 percent.”
Katie was rushed to Aurora BayCare Medical Center and Dr. David Mathias, “The intensive care doctors were involved in taking care of the diabetes and the acidosis,” explained Dr. Mathias.
Dr. Mathias performed surgery, “We opened up her artery and put some drugs in to dissolve the clot.”
But Katie’s condition worsened. So they put her on an ECMO machine- it’s like an artificial heart, “It takes blood out of your vein through pretty large tubes runs through a machine puts oxygen into it and then pumps it back into the body,” explained Dr. Mathias.
The ECMO stabilized Katie enough to send her to Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee- for a potential heart transplant – however doctors still didn’t have much hope for Katie’s survival, “The probability was that this lady was probably going to die no matter what we do,” said Dr. Mathias.
But when Katie was weaned her off the ECMO pump, “And then slowly over time she actually got better which is amazing,” said Dr. Mathias.
Eventually Katie’s body healed without a transplant, “There are things you can’t explain,” said Dr. Mathias.
Now Katie’s prognosis is good, she believes she wouldn’t be alive without Dr. Mathias- the other doctors and her faith, “I feel that God led me to the hospital exactly at the right time, when they had the right people on staff and able to perform this miracle,” Katie cried.
Katie spent about two weeks in the hospital- it took her months to recover.