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Rapid Response Saves Local Man In Cardiac Distress

PatientRobakJim "JR" Robak was having a rough week last summer, already battling a persistent stomach virus. Yet, a nagging virus would soon become the least of his worries. Around 2:30 am, he began feeling like he was having a heart attack.

“After that I felt very faint,” he said. “My chest seemed like it was painful and my arm was very numb and I started to sweat and perspire.”

His wife immediately called 911. Robak says he was was overwhelmed and nervous as he was escorted into an awaiting ambulance.

“The medical people, the EMTs, recommended Baystate Medical and I didn’t quite understand why, but they said for a heart condition that was best,” Robak said. 

The Baystate Heart & Vascular Program is among the best programs in the nation, offering the experience and expertise to accurately diagnose and treat heart and vascular conditions, and is the only facility in the region with teh ability to stop a heart attack while it's in progress.


Robak was rapidly wheeled into a private room in the emergency department. A nurse was there and started an IV. "She made me feel very comfortable,” he said.

Doctors told Robak that is appeared he had suffered a heart attack. “The first test showed that my heart was beating less than 50% that it should have,” Robak said. “Pretty scary, but the doctor calmed me down."


Robak was admitted to the MassMutual Wing at Baystate, where doctors did several rounds of tests and determined that while his heart was enlarged, there was no damage to it.

“I was very comfortable,” Robak said. “The bedside manner of all the doctors was extremely nice. I would recommend that place for anyone in the area.”

Robak was particularly impressed that on his floor, MassMutual 5, patients have the option to call the nurse and speak to her or him over the phone, rather than pressing an alert button.

“To me that was a real step in very good quality and customer service,” he said. “I met with the manager of nurses. She came in to see how things were going. I was impressed by that. In the time of despair, Baystate Medical is there."