Scituate man grateful to be alive after suffering heart attack at gym

A Scituate man is grateful to be alive after suffering a heart attack at his gym.

HANOVER — A Scituate man is grateful to be alive after suffering a heart attack at his gym.

This 64-year-old is sharing his story after paramedics used new technology to get him the help he desperately needed.

Bob Meehan just didn't feel right.

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“It felt mostly like indigestion, and I really was kind of dismissing it like indigestion,” Meehan said.

Meehan said he was playing raquetball with some friends at his Hanover gym. He didn’t realize he was having a heart attack.

“I was feeling a little bit of chest pain that I now realize in hindsight, that that’s what it was,” he said.

Hanover Firefighter Dana Allen was one of those who responded to the scene.

“He was pretty sick when we got there,” Allen said.

And, “He just didn’t look good,” said Hanover Firefighter Joseph Centeio.

Both firefighters used a portable EKG to help Meehan.

“They immediately put the EKG on me and within seconds, knew that I was having a heart attack,” Meehan said.

At first glance, it looks like just a regular EKG machine, but this actually connects to the Internet, and that allows paramedics to get the information to the hospital quickly.

The program is called Lifenet. In seconds, Meehan’s EKG reading went from the machine to a doctor’s cell phone, and specifically to the cell phone of Dr. David Denmark at South Shore Hospital.

“In this situation I knew exactly what it was,” Denmark said.

By sending the EKG straight to the doctor’s phone, he was able to make a diagnosis and get Meehan on the operating table without wasting time.

“There’s a saying in cardiology: time is muscle. The more time we save, the more heart muscle we can save so basically every minute counts,” Denmark said.

Allen said many fire departments on the South Shore use this life-saving tool.

As for how often this comes in hand, Allen said: “I would say 9 out of 10 calls, this goes on a patient. It’s pretty frequent.”

Meehan said it only took 55 minutes from the time he called 911 to the moment doctors inserted a life-saving stent into his blocked artery.

“I was like, okay, they’re going to keep me alive and they’re going to take care of me, and they certainly did in a remarkable way. I’m indebted to them,” he said.