Jack's Story

Jack Scola in the Wyandotte Cath LabHospital’s care helps heart patient continue work for others

As a care minister at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Trenton, Jack Scola is used to visiting members of his congregation at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital.

But the 58-year-old Trenton resident never thought he would wind up spending a good deal of time at the hospital for his own health problems.

Jack has had four heart catheterizations at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital – with the last procedure on July 19, 2018 – and now has a total of eight stents. His father and grandfather both died of heart attacks at relatively young ages, so Jack said he feels extremely fortunate to be alive.

“When I had my first heart cath, they had discovered more blockages that weren’t there before,” he said. “After that visit was when I called to say I was so thankful. They were so kind and nice. To say they went the extra mile is just the case.”

Jack credits the hospital's care with saving his life, and said he can't speak highly enough about the kind, compassionate natures of the staff.

“I know without Dr. Hashem’s work, I wouldn’t be around today,” Jack said gratefully. “Everyone was incredibly kind and spent a lot of time worrying about my needs. They listened to me, and appreciated that I knew what I was talking about.”

Complications arise

It all began early one Saturday in February 2017, Jack’s wife, Deb, took him to the Emergency Department at Henry Ford Wyandotte after he began experiencing what he thought were complications from diabetes.

“It turned out I was having massive heart attacks,” Jack recalls, adding that his kidneys also were failing. “One of the ER doctors thought it was quite grim and didn’t know if I’d make it.”

That all changed when Dr. Mustafa Hashem, medical director of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab, entered the picture.

“Dr. Hashem went to my wife and said, ‘We’re going to pull him through this,” Jack said. “He had a positive attitude, along with many, many prayers. They were so kind to my wife during my procedure, and so attentive to me and made sure I was comfortable afterward. I feel very blessed.”

Dr. Hashem inserted a heart pump and a stent in Jack’s heart. He spent 12 days in the hospital, including six in the ICU, at Henry Ford Wyandotte “I went for rehab there as well; they are just wonderful people,” Jack said.

By summer 2017, he was walking three miles a day and losing weight; however, more blockages were found and kidney problems followed. Additional treatment at Henry Ford Wyandotte put Jack on the road to recovery.

On Aug. 23, he stood by Dr. Hashem’s side as the hospital celebrated the expansion of its Cardiac Catheterization Lab where he received his life-saving treatment.

Last month I gave a sermon at church about what I’ve been through,” Jack said. “My heart actually stopped twice and they brought me back.

“I absolutely believe that God answered many prayers by using Dr. Hashem and all the people at Henry Ford Wyandotte.”

Living each day to the fullest

Now that he’s on the rebound, Jack said he isn’t taking one second of life for granted. “My wife and I became empty nesters and have taken a trip,” he said. “And we’re going to travel more.

“We were putting things off, but not anymore. We’re enjoying life every day. We just got a new kitten, and I even went back to school last summer to become a deacon.”

And being on the other side of the hospital bed has helped Jack gain new perspective in his work as a care minister.

“It’s helped me be more compassionate when I make my visits,” he said. “A lot of people said to me: God’s not done with you; you have more work to do. I know God used Dr. Hashem to keep me here.”

And working he is, with many other people benefiting from his endeavors.

“We just did our first annual back-to-school fair where we gave out 140 backpacks for children in the community who needed assistance,” he said. “That’s one of my ministries. They probably wouldn’t do that if I wasn’t here.”

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