The Story of a Heart Attack Survivor

Posted Mar 4, 2014 | Posted in News & Events

Gordon Woodruff and his wife, Debbie, were so impressed with the lifesaving care he received in the emergency department in Smithfield last summer that they’re eager to share their story with others.

The 62-year-old lawyer survived a massive heart attack on June 24, 2013, thanks to the staff and medical providers who assessed and diagnosed his condition, and then got him in en route to the cath lab in Raleigh—all within 22 minutes of the time he walked into the ED. At the cath lab that morning, Woodruff received two stents, one of which opened a complete blockage of his left main artery.

On the way to Raleigh, Gordon went into cardiac arrest, requiring the ambulance to stop on the side of the road so he could receive CPR and defibrillation.

“Ten miracles happened that morning,” says Debbie Woodruff. “Everybody knew exactly what to do, and their timing was incredible.”

Since the heart attack, Gordon has made a full recovery and has lost 90 pounds through diet and an exercise program at HealthQuest Fitness and Wellness Center.


For several years, staffs in Smithfield and Clayton worked hard towards gaining chest pain center accreditation for both emergency departments, which Johnston Health received in April 2013. In the past year, the emergency departments have provided specialized care for a combined 61 patients who were having active heart attacks.

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