Eugene’s Story

“We weren’t ready.”

January 6 was a typical morning for Eugene Paquin and his wife, Debby. The retired couple woke up mid-morning, ate breakfast and read the newspaper.

Before noon, Eugene developed a headache. As the pain increased, he decided to take some Aspirin. As the morning went on, Eugene started to feel a small amount of pressure in his chest and then through his arms. He knew this feeling was not normal. Eugene recalls walking into his living room and saying to Debby, “I think I’m having a heart attack.”

Instantly, Debby called 9-1-1 and instructed Eugene to lie down on the floor. “I knew time was important,” says Debby. “I felt a bit panicked. I couldn’t remember my phone number while talking with 9-1-1. I ran to unlock the front door so the paramedics could enter our house and I went to the basement to tell our two daughters what was happening.”

The paramedics arrived at the Paquins’ residence in less than seven minutes. Eugene was amazed at the efficient communication between the paramedics and Royal University Hospital, Saskatchewan’s busiest adult emergency and trauma centre. By this time, Eugene’s pain had escalated. “I was in a lot of pain in my neck and jaw; it was body crushing pain,” he describes.

The paramedics rushed Eugene to RUH’s new Adult Emergency Department, where over 60,000 patients are treated each year. Eugene remembers being wheeled into the new emergency and then right into the Cardiac Cath Lab where he met Cardiologist Dr. Stephan Wardell. “I was told by the medical team later on that the heart attack I had was called the ‘widow maker.’ I had 100% blockage in the artery that feeds the heart. They told me there is only a 35% recovery rate for this type of heart attack.”

Thanks to our generous donors, the new Adult Emergency Department and the newly upgraded Cath Lab both provided the newest technology for our medical teams who were ready to save not only Eugene’s life but the over 3,300 other patients who are treated for a heart attack each year. “Within 3 hours, I was transported, operated on, and in recovery. I credit the care providers’ fast work for saving my life. The communication between the paramedics and the team at RUH was remarkable. Everyone was working together. They were ready.”

Eugene is feeling better today. He continues to receive aftercare from the cardiology team at RUH, the LiveWell program and his family doctor. “I will be on medication for the foreseeable future, but I can do a lot of the things I did before,” says Eugene.

The Paquin family is thankful for the medical teams at Royal University Hospital who were ready when they were not.