South Bay Hospital
November 04, 2020

SUN CITY CENTER, FL — South Bay Hospital began offering life-saving cardiac Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) services November 2 and those services saved the life of a 36-year-old Wimauma man on November 3.

PCI, commonly known as angioplasty, PCTA or balloon angioplasty, is a procedure used to treat narrow coronary arteries of the heart. Board-Certified Interventional Cardiologists can now perform elective and emergency PCI procedures at South Bay Hospital to better serve the community. If a patient is experiencing a heart attack, South Bay Hospital is prepared to open the blocked artery with the goal of restoring blood flow to the open heart muscle within 60 minutes of the patient’s arrival to the hospital.

“Adding this capability at South Bay Hospital is a game changer for our community,” said Marcy Frisina, Chief Nursing Officer at South Bay Hospital. “Our neighbors that are experiencing a heart attack can now be treated right here next door. This saves valuable time that otherwise would have been spent transporting a patient to a further hospital. We know that time is absolutely critical when dealing with a cardiac emergency. Having this capability at South Bay Hospital will be life changing for our community members that experience this type of emergency.”

Joey Escalera and staff members after undergoing South Bay Hospital's first PCI

Frisina’s prediction became reality on November 3 when Joey Escalera was rushed to South Bay Hospital with chest pains. Within minutes Escalera became South Bay Hospital’s first patient to undergo, PCI .

“I never expected to have a heart attack at this age,” said Escalera. “I am extremely, extremely thankful for the professionalism and the team that was able to take care of me [at SOUTH BAY]. Without them I probably would not have seen another day, spent another day with my wife and our two kids. I am eternally grateful to them, because they have given me a new lease on life.”

Nearly half of all Americans (48 percent, or 121.5 million in 2016) have some type of cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association’s 2020 Update of Heart and Stroke Statistics.

Nurses and doctors photo'd with Joey Esalera

It remains the number one killer of all Americans, claiming more than 850,000 lives in 2017. According to the Center for Disease Control, one in four Americans suffers from heart disease each year. Interventions available through South Bay Hospital’s PCI and Advanced Primary Stroke Center services can save lives and reduces the extent of damage.

“I am excited and honored to be a part of the expansion of the cardiovascular service line at South Bay Hospital,” said Renea Noriega, Director of Cardiovascular Services at South Bay Hospital. “We can now provide rapid response and immediate cardiac intervention in the treatment of heart attack. This will save lives in our community as we witnessed today.”