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Heart attack survivor thanks his care team at University Hospitals

The 79-year-old pickleball champion is showing gratitude for the team that saved his life.

PARMA, Ohio — Bill Regan, 79, is grateful for the care he received at University Hospitals Parma Medical Center, after he suffered two heart attacks in the span of six months.

Regan is a pickleball champion who has competed in national and international tournaments. On November 9, 2020 and May 26, 2021, Regan had just left the pickleball court when he suffered heart attacks. The courts are located near Reis Ice Rink in Parma, less than two miles from UH Parma Medical Center. The hospital is known for its cardiac care.

Regan was just leaving the court when he collapsed. Two of his friends, retired Cleveland firefighter Jim Gipper, and retired Brunswick police officer Dave Szuter sprung into action, performing CPR while waiting for help to arrive. Officers Ed Pinc and Brian Paul of the Parma Police Department were there within minutes, even beating EMS crews to the scene. They employed the use of an AED until medics arrived. Those medics continued the important care on the way to the hospital.

"That elephant that sat on my chest, he was BIG," says Regan, a retired sales and marketing executive who had no symptoms of cardiac issues since the first stent was inserted in his right coronary artery in November. "This hospital is really caring for the community, and people need to know that their community hospital is working to keep everybody healthy."

On Tuesday, July 13, at 10 a.m. in front of UH Parma, Regan gathered with the team who saved his life to thank them.

"We pride ourselves on the team approach between police and fire departments, and the definitive care partner of UH Parma Medical Center," says Chief Mike Lasky of the Parma Fire Department. "Bill Regan's story shows exactly how the system is supposed to work."

Chris Dussel, MD, cared for Regan in the UH Parma Emergency Department. Interventional Cardiologist Paul Poommipanit, MD, who performed the earlier intervention on Regan, had been anticipating seeing Regan for his six-month follow-up when his patient arrived in the Cardiac Catheterization Lab as an emergent STEMI (ST-elevated myocardial infarction, a common type of heart attack) for Jamie Cohen, MD.

Regan recovered quickly and was back on the pickleball court the week after he was discharged from the hospital in May.

Regan turns 80 on August 5, the same week UH Parma celebrates 60 years of serving the southwest suburbs. Now the father of five and grandfather of 13 is just hoping to find a partner to continue his competitive quest in the 80-plus set.

"When you can play in tournaments, you get kind of fussy," he said, chuckling. "But I'm glad to be playing again."

EDITOR'S NOTE: The video in the player below is from a previous, unrelated story.

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