Published on May 11, 2020

Streamlined Emergency Response Saved His Life

Photo of Bill Schepperly with his dog George.

In his free time, Bill Schepperley enjoys taking his dog George for long walks.

Bill Schepperley considered himself to be in pretty good shape. He regularly walked a few miles at his job at the sporting goods store. He was an avid golfer. He also enjoyed hunting and was proud to have had the strength and stamina to pull a deer out of the woods last fall.

But on February 13, 2020, Schepperley began to have chest pains while at work. He did not hesitate; he went to his hometown Emergency Department (ER) at MidMichigan Medical Center – Clare. Everyone was glad he made that decision and made it quickly. Very shortly after his arrival, Schepperley went into cardiac arrest. The care team immediately began CPR. It took six and a half minutes of compressions and one defibrillation to get him stabilized, and he was diagnosed with an ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) heart attack.

For STEMI patients, the coronary artery is completely blocked off by a blood clot, so time is of the essence. It’s vital to open the blockage before too much damage to the heart muscle can occur or results can be serious. The emergency team in Clare quickly inititated the MidMichigan STEMI protocol, notifying EMS and the ER at MidMichigan Medical Center - Midland, the nearest Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) Center. From there the Cath Lab team was notified and was ready for Schepperley when he arrived. It was a good thing, because when he arrived in Midland, he arrested again. Schepperley had to be defibrillated once more before the blockage in his coronary artery could be cleared and blood flow could be reestablished to his heart.

The team that cared for Schepperley was led by Interventional Cardiologist Rodney Diehl, D.O. “My procedure was Thursday night, and I was home on Sunday morning,” reported Schepperley. “That afternoon, I was taking a drive. I felt great.”

Since his experience, Schepperley has made a point of thanking his care teams. He has made a few trips back to the Clare ER to express his gratitude to Travis Taylor, D.O. who was on duty that night and the nurses he so admires. “I am so grateful for the local hospital in my small town,” said Schepperley. “People like to complain, but I’m telling you, without the Emergency Department at our little hospital in Clare, I never would have made it to the doctors in Midland. I feel very lucky.”

MidMichigan Health continues to work on offering the highest level of care to cardiac patients like Schepperley. It is currently undergoing phase two of building a 170,700 square foot, state-of-the-art Heart and Vascular Center that will consolidate physician offices and specialty clinics on the Midland campus. It will also house cardiac rehabilitation services and provide streamlined access to cardiovascular testing, as well as interventional and surgical heart and vascular services for local patients and those who come in from outlying service areas. The goal is to keep success stories like Schepperley’s coming, and have other patients repeating: “I feel wonderful, like nothing even happened.”

Those who would like more information on MidMichigan’s Regional STEMI Alert Program may visit www.midmichigan.org/stemi.