Patients & Visitors

My Aspirus Story

Rapid response gets Jaecks the heart care he needs

Patient Name: Dave Jaecks

Many residents of north central Wisconsin live in rural areas that often can be several miles away from the nearest hospital. For anyone living in rural areas that are worried about being able to receive help in an emergency, Dave Jaecks has a message for you – if you need help, you’ll get it no matter where you are.

Learn the early warning signs of a heart attack.

You could save your life or the life of someone you love by recognizing the warning signs of a heart attack.

  • Pain/discomfort in center of chest
  • Pain/discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweats
  • Nausea
  • Light-headedness  
Recognize a heart attack warning sign? Call 911 immediately!

The earlier you act, the better your chances of getting the most effective treatment. Local emergency transport services are equipped to begin life-saving treatment en route to the hospital.

In Sept. 2010, the 55-year-old Jaecks found out firsthand that help is indeed able to get to you, regardless of where you live, when he suffered a heart attack outside his home in Wolf River.

While cutting firewood in the woods near his home, Jaecks began feeling a little off. After hauling a couple heavy loads of firewood, his strength was sapped, so he decided to go in the house and lie down on the couch for a bit. A little while later, Jaecks took a shower, but when he got out, he was so weak that he could barely pull up his pants.

Now experiencing heavy pressure on his chest, Jaecks knew he was in trouble. Living in Wolf River, he was more than 20 miles away from Antigo – the nearest city with a hospital – and the only authorities in the area were a couple volunteer fire departments. Luckily, Jaecks saved the number of the Langlade County Sherriff’s department in his cell phone in case of emergencies.

“I called the Sherriff’s Department and told them what was happening and the dispatch told me ‘Help is on the way,’ so I locked up the house and went and laid on my deck,” Jaecks said. “I was only on the deck a few minutes when all of a sudden four or five cars came from every direction and drove up my driveway.”

The cars were first responders from White Lake, who were followed by the Troutland EMS. They loaded Jaecks into an ambulance to begin his journey to Antigo.

“I am really isolated where I live, so all of the people who came to help were volunteers and they were all top flight from the beginning,” he said. “I’m here today because of the woman from the Sherriff Department’s dispatch.”

En route to Antigo, the ambulance stopped briefly when it was intercepted by an Antigo Fire Department EMT. When the Antigo EMT looked at Jaecks’ EKG, the decision was made to go directly to Aspirus Wausau Hospital.

“When we stopped for the EMT, he hopped on board, looked at something and said ‘Go right to Wausau, this one’s hot,’” Jaecks said.

Upon arriving at Aspirus Wausau Hospital, the ambulance was met by the heart team, which immediately unloaded Jaecks from the ambulance and rushed him inside. Just 17 minutes after the ambulance arrived at the hospital, the heart team had cleared the blocked arteries in Jaecks’ heart. It turned out the right side of his heart was totally blocked and required one balloon and two stents.

Jaecks said the pressure on his chest went away immediately after his arteries were cleared. He spent less than 24 hours in intensive care and was home in less than 72 hours. In the end, Jaecks just chalks it up as another one of life’s experiences.

“I’ve been through a lot, but if I can get to places like Aspirus I’ll live,” said Jaecks, who has also had a pair of strokes. “I can’t say enough about the hospital and the speed in which everything was done. From start to finish the quickness of the whole thing was just mind-boggling, and if I had to do it again, I wouldn’t have any worries just because of the response time.”

“Nobody should leave a rural area because they need to be closer to help, because when the time comes, you will get to where you need to be,” Jaecks said.

Created: Feb 25, 2011

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