FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. – As a part-time police dispatcher in Hamtramck, Mark Collins knows how to stay calm during an emergency, but this summer the 59-year-old found himself in a life-or-death situation.
Collins is single, lives by himself and did not know he was suffering from cardiac disease. He said if he hadn’t been on that golf course, he likely would have died from a heart attack. Thanks to quick-thinking friends, EMTs and doctors at Beaumont Hospital, his life was saved and he’s hoping his story will help others.
“I was actually in shock afterward saying, ‘There’s no way I could have had a heart attack. Not as active as I am and in good shape,’" Collins recalled.
Collins was on the fourth hole at Glen Oaks Golf Course in Farmington Hills when he collapsed.
“I’m thinking to myself, ‘I’m going to put this back in the fairway and get a par,’ and that’s the last thing I remember at that time,” Collins said.
It was late July and the temperatures had soared into the mid-90s. His friends jumped into action, including one man who he’d only met a few weeks prior.
“He rushed over and started doing chest compressions. Someone else dialed 911. Someone ran up to the clubhouse to start informing them what happened,” Collins said.
When Farmington Hills EMTs arrived, they were told they couldn’t drive their ambulance on the fairway.
“They were like a bobsled team,” Collins said. “They said they had to run me because there was no way to drive me up to where the truck was at.”
Collins has no memory of the EMT’s working furiously to save his life. He was rushed to Beaumont Hospital, where doctors discovered several arteries were 90-100% blocked. The news came as a shock to the 59-year-old who lives an active lifestyle and has no underlying conditions.
“My doctor said, ‘What happened to you, isn’t so much about your diet, it’s about your family history,’” Collins recalled.
Collins' brother died of a heart attack in February and his mom died in 2004 from cardiac disease. He’s hoping his experience will be a warning to others to stay vigilant and get regular checkups, even if you feel relatively healthy.
Silent heart attacks may be more common than you think
While you might assume you would know if you were suffering a heart attack, that’s not always the case.
To be clear, the majority of heart attacks do cause symptoms. The most common are chest pain or tightness, arm or jaw pain or shortness of breath. Sometimes even nausea or fatigue.