Gary Emanuel with car

“From the moment I entered St. Francis Hospital’s Emergency Room, I knew I was in the right place,” said Gary Emanuel.

The 68-year-old Glen Head resident woke up in May 2023 with intense chest pain. He told his wife immediately: “You have to take me to St. Francis Hospital.” Gary had no doubt he was experiencing a heart attack.

Diagnostic testing at St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center® in Roslyn, NY, revealed that Gary had suffered a “widowmaker,” the most serious kind of heart attack, where a blockage in the left anterior descending artery deprives vital blood into the heart muscle. It’s an often fatal scenario unless prompt emergency care is administered.  

Paul Sapia, MD, Catholic Health Interventional Cardiologist, told Gary: “I’m taking you upstairs to fix you.”

Gary received a stent, a minimally invasive process that relieves the life-threatening blockage.

“The stent is a metal tube that keeps the artery open to allow for efficient blood flow,” explained Dr. Sapia. “Gary recovered beautifully. The decision to get to St. Francis Hospital saved his life.”

After his hospitalization, he enrolled in the St. Francis Hospital Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at The DeMatteis Center for Cardiac Research and Education in nearby Greenvale, NY.

“The staff’s high motivation is what motivates me,” he said with excitement. “I will continue to attend long after my heart has healed. The staff there was unbelievable, and the people in my group were so welcoming.  What happened to me was scary, but it turned out to be the best thing because it prompted me to take care of myself.”

Gary still attends cardiac rehab twice a week. He’s resumed gardening and regularly attends Rangers hockey games when he’s not taking well-deserved vacations with his wife and two grown children.

Learn more about Catholic Health’s cardiology services.