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Life-saving Care

Minutes from Home


Gary Gustin “died” twice and he’s very serious when he says, “I had to die to learn how to live.” He’s also very serious when he talks about Atrium Medical Center and what a blessing it is to the Middletown area.

It was early morning Oct. 27, 2009, when Gary, then 73, felt a dull pressure right in the middle of his chest as he climbed out of the shower. “I knew I was having a heart attack. I told my wife to call 911.” Minutes later a squad arrived. The Middletown native remembers every bump of the five-minute drive to Atrium and arriving to a large team waiting for him. “They knew I was in very critical condition.”

What stopped Gary Gustin’s heart was a clot about the size of a pea. “They call it the widow maker,” says Gary. He credits his survival to God and Atrium Medical Center. “I wouldn’t have survived a transport to Cincinnati or Dayton.”

Gary also credits Saeb Khoury, MD, medical director of Atrium’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab who oversaw Gary’s care. “I remember he arrived at my side in the Emergency Department and saved my life.” Gary is still awed by the team that met him as he was taken out of the ambulance. “The nurses are amazing. I’m telling you, this is a great hospital.”

These days Gary is a regular at Atrium’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program.

Atrium’s cardiac progam includes interventional cardiology, open heart surgery, cardiac rehabilitation and more. Cardiac rehabilitation was designed for patients who have experienced cardiac disease, heart attack, angioplasty, a pacemaker implant or open heart surgery. The program combines exercise, education and counseling to help patients resume normal activity.

“It’s great. They’ve taught me how to eat right and frankly, how to live again. They’ve taught me how to deal with stress and how to exercise.” Gary doesn’t sweat the small stuff anymore. “Seems I had to die to learn how to live. Atrium Medical Center works; they save lives!”

To continue this great care, the Atrium Medical Center Foundation and Atrium provided grant funding to area emergency medical service (EMS) squads to implement a system for cardiac care that electronically links them to Atrium’s Emergency Trauma Center.

Back to 2009 CIR