Employee Ashley Kicker just wanted to start her morning by picking up some things at the CVS pharmacy at GP headquarters in Atlanta. The pharmacy had not opened at 7:30 a.m. when Ashley wanted to shop, so she decided to go to the sundry shop down the hall. As she was selecting her items, the male store clerk walked up to her and said “my chest is hurting, would you please call an ambulance.”
Because Ashley knew the signs of a heart attack, she noticed that he was sweating profusely and flexing his left hand. “Unfortunately for me, I have a family member who had a massive heart attack, so I am aware and know what to look for,” Ashley said. “He kept flexing his left hand, so I knew his left arm was tingling and that’s a sure sign of heart distress.”
Given all that was happening, Ashley remained calm and called 911. “The 911 operator asked me a lot of questions, but the one that sticks out the most is him asking if I could give the store clerk some aspirin.” Because Ashley was in a store, she quickly grabbed a bottle, gave the clerk an aspirin and told him to chew - just as she was instructed. By this time, a few other people walked into the store and one GP employee came over to help. She stayed with the store clerk while Ashley waved in the paramedics.
Being someone who has experienced losing a family member to a heart attack, Ashley makes it a point to eat healthy and exercise, but she also stresses the importance of educating yourself about heart disease and knowing the signs. “In a perfect world everyone would eat healthy and exercise, but we’re not in a perfect world. However, everyone can read and educate themselves about heart disease and that can save lives too - just like it did with the store clerk.”
February is American Heart Month, and early detection plays a vital role in preventing heart attacks. The American Heart Association provides a comprehensive guide to the warning signs of heart attack, stroke and cardiac arrest.