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AdventHealth hospital staff help volunteer recognize early signs of heart attack

Heart attack
Posted at 6:05 PM, Feb 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-10 18:23:27-05

WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. — A volunteer at a Tampa Bay area hospital is thankful to the team that spotted symptoms she was having a heart attack and may have helped save her life. Both the volunteer and healthcare workers want people to know the signs and symptoms that could be different in men and women.

If you step into the gift shop at AdventHealth Wesley Chapel, you’re likely to be greeted by Sara Lynn. She’s been a volunteer there for nearly 10 years.

“Truthfully, we are a family,” said Lynn.

“I will go to the gift shop by 9:30 a.m. every morning, because that’s when she comes in at 9:00 a.m., just to go see her, say hi because if I don’t, by 10:00 a.m., she’s calling me,” said Fitzalbert Martin, the cath lab manager.

It’s part of Martin’s routine to stop by. Last month, Lynn shared how Martin and other hospital staff recognized something wasn’t right.

“I started feeling like I was having distressed stomach and gas pains, and Albert came into the gift shop,” said Lynn.

“She said about probably five minutes ago, I started having a little bit of pain on my right side here and it just kind of moved up to my chest, so I said how are you feeling otherwise?” said Martin. “I proceeded to say to her really and truly, the symptoms that you’re explaining to me here could be the early signs of a heart attack because females present differently than males, and one of the signs that females also do have is abdomen discomfort.”

Martin wanted her to go to the ER, but Lynn explained to him she was feeling okay.

“He left for a few minutes and was going to come back, and all of a sudden, I felt like my chest was going to explode. I got cold sweat, nauseous,” said Lynn. “And I went to the ER.”

The ultimate diagnosis: a heart attack.

“If I wasn’t here and I was home, I probably would have let it go and say this will pass, and without him egging me on and telling me I have to take care of myself, I probably wouldn’t have done it, and I’m truly grateful for him and for his whole team,” said Lynn.

The American Heart Association says as with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort, but it says women are somewhat more likely than men to experience other common symptoms, like shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

“Truthfully, I owe him my life,” said Lynn.

Lynn is back at work and better than ever. She and Martin share the same message: seek help if something’s off.

“Don’t wait,” said Lynn. “If you’re not sure, go get taken care of.”