“Dr. Maniscalco said Manuel’s story is a good reminder to never take heart health for granted.
“Raymound was fairly young to have a heart attack. People need to make sure they’re getting their blood pressure and cholesterol checked regularly, not smoking and staying active. Heart disease can happen at any age,” Dr. Maniscalco said.”
Raymound Manuel believes he’s alive today based on one thing: team work. The 57-year-old had gone in for a stress test at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center in September 2018, but one he completed it, things took a sharp turn.
“I remember saying ‘I don’t feel good’ and then I passed out. I only know what people tell me after that,” Manuel said.
Manuel had a massive heart attack caused by a 100 percent blockage in his left anterior descending artery. Multiple people rushed to help Manuel, including security officer Corby McKenzie. It’s estimated Manuel underwent CPR for about 45 minutes.
“I have additional CPR training due to my other job as a firefighter, so I knew I could help. Every time I began I doing compressions, I just prayed. I kept doing compressions on him even as they were taking him up to the cath lab. I’ll never forget when he took a big breath and opened his eyes,” McKenzie said.
Physicians and nurses were able to stabilize Manuel, and it was determined he would need bypass surgery.
“During bypass surgery, we graft a vein or artery taken from a healthy blood vessel and attach it below and above the blocked artery. Blood then flows through the graft, bypassing the blocked vessel,” said Stephen Maniscalco, MD, Manuel’s cardiovascular surgeon.
On the Road to Recovery
After several weeks in the hospital recovering, Manuel was able to walk out of the hospital on his own. Dr. Maniscalco said Manuel should count himself as lucky.
“For someone to undergo CPR as long as he did and to recover as well as he did, that’s a success story. His heart attack could’ve happened anywhere, but he’s lucky it happened while he was at the hospital,” Dr. Maniscalco said.
Manuel credits much of his recovery to his caregivers at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands.
“Everybody at that hospital did something special to keep me alive. From Corby and the others who did CPR on me, to the doctors and nurses involved in my surgery, to the physical therapists that helped me regain strength so I could walk out of the hospital, they made me feel like they really cared and treated me with respect,” Manuel said.
After leaving the hospital, Manuel enrolled in the TIRR Memorial Hermann Challenge Program, which provides a comprehensive range of services to help maximize a patient’s recovery and ensure they have the skills needed for success.
“Ray’s long-term goals included going back to work and back to driving. He’s made tremendous progress through his hard work with speech, occupational and physical therapists, and will soon achieve both those goals! Throughout his journey, he was always positive, encouraging of others, and thankful to all those who were working with him in his recovery,” said Christine Dantche, Manuel’s vocational rehabilitation counselor and case manager in the Challenge Program.
Regular Checkups are Key to Heart Health
Dr. Maniscalco said Manuel’s story is a good reminder to never take heart health for granted.
“Raymound was fairly young to have a heart attack. People need to make sure they’re getting their blood pressure and cholesterol checked regularly, not smoking and staying active. Heart disease can happen at any age,” Dr. Maniscalco said.
Manuel said he is grateful for the lifesaving care he received at Memorial Hermann.
“I know for a fact that hospital changed my life. I get tears in my eyes thinking about it! I can’t thank everybody enough,” Manuel said.
Memorial Hermann Heart and Vascular Institute has a team of affiliated cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons, clinicians, researchers and educators who are developing and perfecting innovative techniques that continue to put Memorial Hermann at the forefront of advancing heart health in Houston. Learn more about the conditions treated by these multidisciplinary cardiovascular teams or schedule an appointment with a cardiologist near you.