Santa Rosa Man Tells of Extraordinary Care After Heart Attack

Santa Rosa, Calif. (March 15, 2023) -- On the morning of Feb. 6, David Downey, a 76-year-old Santa Rosa resident and local contractor, woke up with a cold sweat, feeling nauseous. At first, he thought he had Covid, but as symptoms progressed, he realized he might be having a heart attack. After taking some baby aspirin, he made his way to the emergency department at Providence Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.

After a battery of tests, he was quickly prepped for surgery, and doctors inserted a stent in one of the hospital’s new state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization (cath) labs.  Memorial rebuilt two of its cath labs within the past year—the second upgraded lab opened on March 1, 2023. Thanks to generous contributions of our community members, Memorial is expected to open a third updated cath lab in 2024.

After his surgery, Downey recalls the first thing he said to the care team, “When do I get out of here? I feel great!” He was discharged the next day and back at work three days later. “The whole experience was amazing,” said Downey. “The entire staff displayed a calm professionalism. It was like they were a pit crew at the Indianapolis 500. Everybody knew exactly what they were supposed to do.”

Downey was fortunate he sought immediate help and had close access to an award-winning program. Providence Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital was recently recognized with a Blue Distinction Centers for Cardiac Care designation as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program for showing expertise in delivering improved patient safety and better health outcomes.

“We are honored to receive this designation,” said Chuck Kassis, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital’s chief executive. “Our caregivers work hard to provide the most advanced level of care for our community. Their commitment to promoting the health of our community members is vital and saves lives every day.” 

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally and is expected to claim more than 23.6 million lives annually by 2030.  Symptoms of a heart attack may include chest discomfort, shortness of breath, a cold sweat, lightheadedness, nausea or pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach.

Don’t wait to get help if you experience any heart attack warning signs. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, but others start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Pay attention to your body and call 911.

About Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital 

Providence, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital is a nonprofit, full-service, 338-bed health care facility. Services include cancer, cardiac, critical care, emergency/a level II trauma center, maternity and infant care; neurosciences; orthopaedics; pediatrics, the neonatal intensive care nursery, and more. The hospital works collaboratively with other hospitals within Providence, as well as numerous outpatient facilities, affiliated physicians, home and community care, and Providence Medical Group providers, to ensure patients receive the highest level of care, close to home. For more information, visit