ER Nurse’s Decision to Go the Extra Mile Proved Crucial

Navy veteran Daniel Winans In the span of a year, Navy Veteran Daniel Winans had experienced three heart attacks before taking it seriously. However, the pain he experienced on December 30, 2013, told him there would be no ignoring it.

“I walked into Temecula Valley, which had just opened, and I told them I was having a heart attack. Within two minutes, I coded,” said Winans, using a term that means his heart had stopped.

A nurse quickly administered chest compressions and the Emergency Room team launched into action. “When I woke up, the ER doctor was looking at me and excitedly said, ‘We brought you back!’" Winans said. “The team was cheering and high-fiving.”

The medical team recommended Winans undergo a cardiac catheterization to evaluate blood flow to the heart muscle, but the hospital was so new it was not yet certified to perform the procedure. As Winans was placed in the ambulance for a trip to another hospital, the ER nurse who treated him insisted on riding along. “I am glad she did because I coded twice on the way there,” Winans said, “I’m here because of her. I’m grateful.”

He was treated for a 100% blockage in the left anterior descending artery, which is ominously called “the widowmaker." His advice to others is to not ignore heart attack symptoms, “Take it seriously and get it checked out. Any discomfort should be checked out," Winans said. “Those three first heart attacks were warnings that I didn’t take seriously.”

About 10 years later, Winans is very conscious about his heart health. “I always prioritized exercising through my career in the Navy,” Winans said. “Now, I also prioritize my diet and what I put in my body.”

He returned to Temecula Valley to have his gallbladder removed. Coincidentally, it was the same day as an award ceremony for the ER nurse and doctor who treated Winans. “Both the CEO and the president of the hospital came to check in on me," Winans said. “I can’t say enough good things about Temecula Valley.”