Northwest Texas Trauma Center Saved Scott Frish's Life

Scott Frish considers himself privileged to be a professor of the arts, helping students solve problems and put chaos into order. One night his life fell into chaos as he suffered from cardiac arrest. Scott’s wife was insistent that the commitment and experience of Northwest Texas Healthcare System could save him. She was right.

Scott Frish's wife Stacey, a cardiac nurse, insisted that the EMTs take Scott to the Trauma Center at Northwest Texas Healthcare System as he was having a heart attack. It was a life-saving decision. 

The 51-year-old assistant professor lives in Canyon, Texas, about 12 miles north of Amarillo. Diagnosed with a congenital heart rhythm condition, Frish saw his cardiologist regularly. Cleared at his last check-up, Scott thought all was well… until it wasn’t. “I really don’t know what happened to me because I passed out at the table one night after dinner,” says Frish. “My wife, Stacey, is a cardiac nurse, and she recognized before I even passed out that there was something wrong with my breathing. As soon as I fell over off my chair, she started CPR.” Shortly afterward, the police and EMTs arrived and took over performing CPR. His heart stopped beating for six minutes.

“I believe they shocked my heart back into a normal rhythm,” Frish recalls. Then he was rushed to Northwest Texas Healthcare System at the instruction of his wife. “She was adamant. She knew where the best heart care was.” The staff at Northwest Texas used hypothermia therapy to lower Scott’s body temperature, a process that can help reduce the death of brain cells when cardiac arrest occurs. “According to national statistics, only 10 percent of the people who have the same sudden death condition I have and who have a heart attack come out of it without significant brain damage,” says Frish. “Northwest has the latest technology and care to clinically bring me back to life without any significant brain damage.”

Frish was stabilized and brought out of hypothermia therapy. A pacemaker and defibrillator were implanted to help keep his heart beating more efficiently. Frish considers himself lucky to have a trauma center in Northwest Texas Healthcare System so close to home and says he is thankful that the staff was focused on getting him back on his feet. “The level of professionalism at Northwest was top notch and the staff made me feel like I was the only person they had to take care of, like I was the only patient in the hospital. They were never rushed; they always put my needs first. I felt like I was in my own personal, private hospital,” Frish concludes.

Learn the warning signs of a possible heart attack >