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Leawood man survives heart attack thanks to fast actions of others

John Longan
Posted at 5:55 PM, Feb 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-18 19:15:38-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Leawood resident John Longan is alive today thanks to the quick actions of others.

He suffered a major heart attack while working out at the Carriage Club in Kansas City, Missouri, in November.

It was just another day at the Morning Maniacs workout class for Longan and his daughter when he started to feel off. He noticed some pain in his stomach and decided to sit the rest of the class out.

At first, he thought he just needed something to raise his blood sugar. However, within minutes he was passed out in a chair in a trainer's office.

"That's all I remember, until I woke up in the hospital afterwards, and I had to have people tell me what happened," Longan said.

Thankfully, Saint Luke's registered nurse Jenni Legg had just arrived for a workout class. The gym's trainer called her over to help and the pair began doing CPR and using an AED.

Legg called the whole experience emotional.

"It shows just how fragile life is, it was surreal, and I work in the hospital, but it's different when it's your friend," Legg said. "I remember yelling 'John, stay with me John.'"

Legg and other trainers continued doing CPR and using the AED until paramedics arrived. Legg said she felt relieved after finding out they were taking him to Saint Luke's Hospital.

"I knew he was going straight to Cath Lab and was going to be in a good place," Legg said.

Longan would later learn just how many people helped to make sure he was okay. Members of the club stationed themselves at multiple entrances of the building and held the elevator to make sure paramedics could get there easily.

Longan said he was blown away by the group effort.

"There were people who were fighting for me, for my life, and there were people who I know, and have known for a long time, who were fighting for me and then there were people who I don't know," Longan said.

Dr. Adnan Chhatriwalla, interventional cardiologist at Saint Luke's Hospital, said timing is key in a situation like Longan's.

"It's everything, being close by is huge. When patients go to smaller hospitals or local ER's sometimes that don't have the Cath Lab capability then their procedures can be delayed even for a couple of hours as we get them transferred here," Chhatriwalla said.

Once at the catheterization lab, doctors opened up Longan's blocked artery with a balloon and stent.

Longan has had a smooth recovery and is now doing cardio rehab and working his way back to his full workouts.

It wouldn't have been possible without the fast actions of those nearby.

"The key was everybody worked as a team and there was clear communication and everybody did their part," Legg said. "I'm just so happy, it's the best story and I'm happy to be a part of it."

Longan said he will always be grateful to Legg, the other trainers and everyone else at the Carriage Club who helped him.

"The overwhelming emotion and feeling that I have is gratitude and trying to understand how truly blessed I am to have gone through this whole thing and being given a second chance at life," Longan said.

His message to others is to get checked out even if you don't think you're at risk of a heart attack. He wants to encourage people to know their family history too.

He also hopes to be an example of just how important it is to know CPR and how to use an AED.

"Be somebody who fights for somebody's life," Longan said. "I was so blessed to have three people around me at least, who knew what to do and jumped into action."