Patients & Visitors

My Aspirus Story

Fast-acting cardiac care comes through for French

Patient Name: Dale French

On Sept. 27, 2008, Antigo resident Dale French settled into bed for what he thought was going to be a peaceful night’s rest.

Shortly after hitting the mattress at 1 a.m., the 54-year-old was hit with a blinding pain in the middle of his chest. Sweating heavily and fighting the pain, French made his way downstairs and outside to get some air, but he soon realized what was happening.

Level I Cardiac Care

  • Learn more about the Aspirus Level I 
      Cardiac Care program

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.

“When I got outside the pain dropped me to my knees and I knew it was a heart attack,” he said. “It felt like someone stuck me with a knife and twisted. At one point I started to go black and thought ‘This might be it,’ but I just though of my daughter (Megan) and I wasn’t ready to go.”

French’s wife Julie drove their truck around to the front of their house and helped her husband into the truck. Living only a few blocks from Langlade Hospital, she figured it would be quicker for her to drive Dale to the emergency department than wait for an ambulance.

“When we got to the emergency room people were on me right away,” Dale said. “Everyone knew what they were doing and there didn’t seem to be any confusion at all.”

With French stabilized, but still in a lot of pain, he was quickly loaded into an ambulance to be transferred to Aspirus Wausau Hospital.

The ride to Aspirus Wausau Hospital went by seemingly fast for French, but his back and arms began to hurt because he was tensing up from the pain in his chest. During the trip, the nurse and paramedic in the ambulance prepped French for his arrival to the hospital.

“The ambulance crew was wonderful, and as soon as we hit the ER entrance, we went through two sets of doors and I was on the table in no time,” he said. “Everybody was scrubbed up and ready to go as soon as I got there. Everyone knew exactly what they were doing and there was never any hesitation from anyone throughout the entire process. I was impressed.”

French received angioplasty just 27 minutes after arriving at Aspirus Wausau Hospital. Doctors also placed a stent in one of his arteries, which was completely blocked. The former Petty Officer Third Class in the Navy spent just two days in intensive care before going home.

“In the Navy I had a lot of training in emergency situations and I can’t think of one thing anyone could have done differently to make the care I received more efficient,” he said. “Everyone involved in my care was so wonderful and efficient. They were all so knowledgeable and everyone knew their job and did it.”

French is working his way back toward full strength and doing the things he loves like working out, hunting, fishing and enjoying the outdoors. He also will get to see his daughter graduate from Antigo High School in the spring, something he wasn’t sure he would be around for that night back in September.

Created: Feb 20, 2009

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