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Hazel Gilbert, a laboratory technician at Medical City Denton, never dreamed she would become a patient in need of lifesaving care. Now, she wants people to know about heart attacks and the early warning signs she wishes she would have heeded.

 Gilbert was returning from a photo session celebrating her graduation from Texas Woman’s University when she experienced an unusual pain in her throat. As soon as she arrived home, Gilbert called out for help to her family, who called 911.

 “We had been very busy at the hospital and at home,” Gilbert explains. “It caused a lot of stress. The week before I had discomfort in my left arm, but we had been so busy, and I didn’t make an appointment with my doctor. I should have.”

 “I had a pain in my throat, like I had a frog in my throat,” explains Gilbert, a laboratory technician at Medical City Denton.

 “Being there for a patient, I knew what to do. But me having a heart attack? I never thought it would be me on the other side of the table. It was different, and it was scary,” Gilbert says.

 When she arrived at Medical City Denton, Gilbert was taken to the heart catheterization lab immediately where Interventional Cardiologist Atif Yousuf, MD, explained that she had the typical symptoms for a woman having a heart attack, including weakness in her left arm and tightness in her chest and throat.

 “Time is muscle, the sooner we open up the artery, the better our chances of preventing permanent damage,” says Atif Yousuf, MD, the interventional cardiologist who treated Gilbert. “One of the best things that Hazel did is to understand the importance of recognition and getting help. Because she came in so quick, there was no damage to the heart muscle. Hazel can have an average or same life expectancy or prognosis of anybody else.”

 Even though Gilbert worked at a hospital known for cardiac care, she didn’t take initial signs of a heart attack seriously because she believed she was “too busy.” Heart attacks in women can have different symptoms not typical for men including:

  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms
  • Chest pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweats
  • Nausea/vomiting

 Gilbert experienced all of these.

 Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in women. Gilbert and Dr. Yousuf are raising awareness about these symptoms in the hopes of saving lives. Watch their video here: in which Dr. Yousuf describes what happened to Gilbert’s heart during the attack.

 “Don’t take it lightly,” warns Gilbert. “It’s not always indigestion. And it’s just really, really important for you to seek help immediately.

 “I did my 30 sessions of cardiac rehab and now I work out at home and walk. I’ve lost about 10 to 12 pounds, and I make sure I take my medication. Every day.” Gilbert concluded.

 Learn more about Medical City Denton’s Cycle 6 Chest Pain center, the highest level of cardiac expertise and know the symptoms of a heart attack.

 About Medical City Denton

Medical City Denton is a 208-bed, high quality, acute care hospital with more than 900 employees and 300 physicians. Serving the people of North Texas, Medical City Denton is a Level II Trauma Center, a Primary Stroke Center and an accredited v6 Chest Pain Center offering advanced open-heart surgery. Magnet® recognized for nursing excellence Medical City Denton is part of Medical City Healthcare

For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter @MedCityDenton

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