Man receives life-saving treatment at Rockville Centre's Mercy Hospital


“Follow your heart” is now Southold resident Curtis Winkler’s mantra.

Late last month, while he was on business in Freeport, he felt slight chest pain. Winkler tried to work through the pain, but his body was telling him he shouldn’t ignore the signs. He drove himself to Catholic Health’s Mercy Hospital’s Emergency Department, where the ED team performed an electrocardiogram, one of the fastest tests used to evaluate the heart, and it revealed that Winkler was having a heart attack. 

 The ED team ensured that Winkler received life-saving intervention as soon as possible as “time is muscle.” Within 11 minutes, he was in the St. Francis Hospital Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Mercy, where a team of doctors and nurses were ready for his arrival. Within 49 minutes, Winkler received a balloon angioplasty that cleared the blockage and reestablished blood flow to his heart. His door-to-balloon time of 49 minutes was much faster than the national requirement of 90 minutes.

“Timely diagnosis and treatment is vital in cardiac emergencies,” said Sidharth Yadav, the director of the lab, according to a news release. “Having a St. Francis Hospital Cardiac Catheterization Lab on location has offered a large number of residents quick and easy access to exceptional cardiac care. While the medical teams performed phenomenal life-saving interventions well within the required time, I’d also like to acknowledge Mr. Winkler’s timely decision to go to the ED as it ultimately saved his life.”

The lab opened at Mercy in 2020, offering immediate and on-location cardiac care to patients who present at the hospital with a heart attack or other significant cardiac emergencies. It provides local residents with access to life-saving procedures, such as percutaneous coronary intervention, which uses a catheter to place a stent to open the heart’s blood vessels that have been narrowed by plaque build-up. 

The lab is supported by St. Francis Hospital and Heart Center in Roslyn’s cardiothoracic surgeons, anesthesiologists, perfusionists and others who have expertise in all types of heart surgery, and is staffed by interventional cardiologists from St. Francis, which includes coronary artery bypass surgery to the newest, minimally invasive valve procedures, including surgical techniques designed to treat certain cardiac arrhythmias, or irregular heart rhythms.

The expanded cardiact services at Mercy joins St. Francis Heart Center at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip. It will expand to St. Joseph Hostpial in Bethpage in the fall with the opening of a new cardiac catheterization lab.

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