Last month, Pat Ogawa, Seattle office managing director at Deloitte Digital, was going about his usual Thursday morning when he was suddenly faced with a health crisis. Pat talks about his experience and shares some helpful insight here

Last month, Pat Ogawa, Seattle office managing director at Deloitte Digital, was going about his usual Thursday morning when things took a turn. He’d like to share his experience here, so that others can benefit.

“On Thursday, I went on my usual stand-up paddle board training session at dawn, solo this time since my usual group raced the night before and they were going out the next day. I ran into a buddy at mile three and turned around and then finished the last mile going pretty hard against a strong headwind. I went home, had a smoothie and jumped on a conference call.

Here is where it gets interesting. I started to get a pain on the left side of my chest. I thought it was just a strain since I went a little hard, but this one felt a little different. I tried to lie down and see if that would help. It didn't. I texted my wife, Margie, about the chest pain, took three aspirin and changed my clothes. No text back from Margie, so of course I called Uber to take me to Virginia Mason, my local hospital. (Note - don't do this — call 911).

I took another conference call on the way to the hospital, but I had to concentrate a bit more to get my words out (don't do this either).

I get to the hospital, tell them I have chest pains and they go into a mini code blue, consisting of tons of questions, EKG, CT, blood tests). All turn out fine. This is now about three hours in. The ER doc wants to run one more blood test. This one shows up with elevated proteins and enzymes. There is something wrong, so more cardiologists show up. I’m told the best option is to do an angiogram to find out what is going on. (This procedure is very geeky since you can watch the whole procedure in hi-def with some oxy drugs).

They did find a 70 percent blockage in my heart, and it was a 50/50 case to put in a stent or not. I had one more test to check the pressure differential and they decided to put a stent in.

I spent one night in the hospital with a little bit of pain and a little sleep. I give huge thanks to Dr. Longo and the Virginia Mason Heart Institute team. I think it was not my time to go yet. If this happened later this year, or years from now, I don't think I’d survive.

I am now on a personal mission to spread awareness about the warning signs of heart issues. Both men and women need to know the signs of a heart attack—it saved my life and could end up saving yours. Now, I’m not a doctor, and I know there is no foolproof way to prevent a heart attack, but based on my experience, I believe strongly that you shouldgo and schedule your annual physical, and if you have any history of heart disease ask your doctor to do a cardiac test. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if you feel any of the following signs of discomfort or symptoms, it could be indicative of a heart attack:

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort. Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.

As with men, women's most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

Pat originally shared a similar version of this post on his LinkedIn page. For those of you who know Pat, he’s a big sports fan and a Seattle Sounders FC season ticket member. His hospital, Virginia Mason, is proud partner of Sounders FC and at each home match, they invite a “Patient Hero” to be honored on the sidelines before the match with a special match ball presentation, featured on the videoboards for all fans to see. The folks at VM saw Pat’s LinkedIn post and he was honored on the field before the July 5 match between Sounders FC and West Ham United—which, incidentally, Sounders FC won 3 – 0.

On behalf of the entire Deloitte community, we’re beyond thrilled that Pat was educated about the first signs of a heart attack, was able to get the care he needed in time, and is recovering like the champ he is. Congratulations on your "Patient Hero" recognition!